Dallas Morning News (10.06.11) - Friday, October 07, 2011
In the past three weeks, nearly 200 people have been found to
have latent TB following the investigation of an Ennis High
School teacher's active TB infection. The state health
department notified the school district of the teacher's TB
diagnosis on Aug. 19.
Ennis, which is 40 miles south of Dallas in Ellis County, does
not have a city or county health department. The state health
department took charge, enlisting health workers from Dallas,
Tarrant, and other nearby counties. Four school district
nurses also are helping.
"This is a large investigation, probably one of the largest
we've been involved in," said Dr. James Zoretic, director of
the state health department's regional office in Arlington.
"We started with the students who actually had the teacher,"
said David Averett, principal of Ennis High. "We pulled all
the student lists for [the teacher's] classes back to the fall
Of 230 students and 15 faculty members offered testing Sept.
14-16, 80 people were found to be positive for TB exposure,
and five showed signs of active TB on chest X-rays. A second
phase of testing followed.
"As expected, we've seen a much lower rate of positives in the
second phase of testing as we move further out from the
original patient," said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for
the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Of the 1,040 skin tests administered as of Wednesday, 197 were
found to be positive. All those with positive skin tests
undergo a follow-up chest X-ray on a portable machine and are
encouraged to seek treatment. At least 10 people are suspected
of having progressed to active TB, including three people in