Westlake High School Receives TB Test Results

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WESTLAKE, Ohio— About 450 students and staff at Westlake High School got the results of their tuberculosis skin tests after someone at the school became sick with the contagious disease during winter break, school officials said.

"The individual who contracted TB was identified as a member of the Westlake High School community so we extended testing for free to all students, all faculty and all support staff," Principal Timothy Freeman said.

The tests showed that some people had been exposed to tuberculosis at some point in their lives, Pamela Schnellinger with the Cuyahoga County Tuberculosis Program said.

However, she also said that is normal within the general population.

"That just means they have been exposed to tuberculosis at some time in their life. It doesn't tell you anything. It doesn't tell you that they have TB," Schnellinger said, adding that on average, up to 3-percent of Americans who take the TB skin test will be positive.

At Westlake High School, even fewer than that tested positive, showing there has not been an outbreak.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who come in contact with TB do not get sick and are not contagious, but will still test positive.

Only some become ill.

If they do, usually the bacteria attacks the lungs.

Those who tested positive at the school will be sent for more tests, Schnellinger said.

"We've not interviewed anyone who has been ill, so we don't think anyone has active tuberculosis," Schnellinger said.