After completing tuberculosis testing of 906 Longmont High School students, Denver Health Medical Center has found that 120 students tested positive for the latent form of the infection and are undergoing treatment, 7News reports.
The latent form is not contagious, but in a small amount of cases, even after a person infected with latent TB gets treatment, they can still develop the active form of the disease which has some Longmont High parents understandably concerned. Carl Rarrick, who was told his son Kori has the latent form of TB, told 7News, "I didn't think this would ever happen to my kid. I almost cried. He's got a good future ahead of him."
Many of those that have tested positive have undergone X-rays and started an antibiotic treatment that is aimed at keeping the latent form from becoming active, according to The Denver Post.
After a student tested positive for active tuberculosis at Longmont High School in December, officials ran tests on about 140 pupils who spent time in close proximity to the one TB-infected student, and found a positive rate of about 40 percent. A rate Dr. Randall Reves, director of the Denver Metro Tuberculosis Control Program, told the Longmont Times Call was unusually high (and therefore more infectious), but not unheard of. But, the percentage was high enough that the entire school was then tested.
That original student, who is not being named, who tested positive for active TB is already recovering and has returned to "normal activities," Dr. Reves told The Denver Post. No other active cases have been found.
"The most important thing for parents to know is that the risk of their child being affected with tuberculosis is very, very low, but nonetheless if the school recommends that they be tested, they should be tested," added CBS4's Dr. Dave Hnida in an earlier report.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria spread through the air and although the disease is easily treated, it can be fatal, The Associated Press reports.