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No Tuberculosis Concerns For School Football Games

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Concerns about tuberculosis in the Ennis ISD and the possible infection of other North Texas students reached such a high level Thursday afternoon that the City of Ennis announced free Tuberculosis (TB) Testing Clinics would be held for all current Ennis High School students, faculty and staff who had not already been tested by the state.

The free TB Testing Clinic will be held at the Ennis Regional Medical Center on:
Monday, October 3, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Monday, October 10, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Meanwhile, a lot of folks in North Texas were expressing concerns about school football teams taking the field against players from Ennis.

A former Ennis High School teacher contracted an active form of tuberculosis and Thursday the Texas Department of State Health confirmed more than 100 people in Ennis have tested positive for the latent or non-active form of TB.

At a Thursday press conference, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson said his office has received a lot of calls from parents and school districts.

“We’re wanting to put the concerns to rest that we don’t see any issues where individuals need to bring their own water [to the games], or be concerned about contracting TB from another player,” he said.

KRLD’s Barbara Schwarz reports:

State health officials confirmed 128 people in Ennis have tested positive for non-active TB and up to 10 people there are now suspected of having active TB.

It’s Homecoming Weekend for West Mesquite High School, which is hosting Ennis. The freshman and junior varsity football games are Thursday, the big [varsity] game is Friday night and a homecoming dance will happen on Saturday.

Despite the physical contact during the games, some local parents who talked with CBS 11 News said they had no worries about the TB contagion.

“I think our kids are safe,” said Melissa Davis, who has two daughters in high school. Tiffany Barnes and Darla Spence’s children will also take part in homecoming activities, but no one was worried. “They’re going to have very little contact and it’s outdoors,” said Davis, “it’s not like they’re hugging each other. I mean, they’re going to be tackled, but I think that’s different. Like I said, if my son was still playing today, I’d let him play.”

“I was a little concerned about the game coming tonight,” echoed Darla Spence, who quickly added that the school website helped change her mind. “I think Mesquite has come out and educated a little bit more and said it’s okay.”

The Mesquite ISD website published information from state health officials that’s helped put many parent’s minds at ease.

The district also has a kid of ‘phone tree’ to reach out even further. “We have a school messenger system that actually calls parents. We can also deliver e-mails and text messages as well,” explained MISD spokeswoman Laura Jobe. “It’s very helpful to get information out in a quick manner.”

The MISD message mirrors that of Dallas County health officials.

The Waxahachie ISD put out a notice that said they would bring their own water to play Ennis, but Dallas Health Director Thompson said that isn’t necessary since any player who tested positive won’t be on the field and parents and schools should just let the kids play.

“We just want to put the fears to rest with the upcoming football games that are coming up, that there’s no reason to cancel the games,” said Thompson. “There’s no reason to be concerned.”

Next week, Dallas County Health will help Ennis with TB testing and follow-up.

Health officials say the TB bacterium is usually spread in close quarters, not an outdoor setting; and it’s not spread through sweat, saliva or shaking hands, so sporting events should pose no problems.

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  • darrell

    so, we are to assume that every player, coach, cheerleader, band member, school member, faculty member or anyone else who could have been exposed to the infected teacher or to someone who has the active disease has been tested and cleared. then we can assume there is ZERO possibility that even one infected person may have slipped through the cracks.
    thats amazing! you should consider solving the world peace problem then. is lets say by christmas too much time?

  • Health Director: No TB Concerns For School Football Games « Fort Worth News Feeds

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  • Roger

    This is more serious than people are saying. To see all those folks of Ennis in that meeting in close proximity, you can get ready for an epidemic. The cloth masks the positive folks are wearing aren’t the respirator masks that are used for TB. The spores can still get through those masks. The reporter who done the story last week on the porch might want to be tested also.

  • Ennis Parent

    How do you know it’s more serious? And so you’re saying the people at the meeting last night wearing masks were all diagnosed with ACTIVE TB disease, and were spreading due to inadequate masks? You might want to get your facts straight. I was at the meeting and have no fear of being exposed, because I listened to the FACTS and INFO being told to us by the TDSHS doctor. He’s the expert, I am not. As for guaranteeing that there’s ZERO possibilty of being exposed at a game, there’s no way to guarantee that. We are ALL at risk of being exposed to TB and other bacteria every day of our lives, just by simply living. You never know what the person next to you may have. Is it a cough? Or something worse? You never know.

  • linda

    Left out of story. WHERE did the science contract the disease? How long had she exposed the children and other teachers before she found out she was contagious?

  • A Concerened Ennis Mother

    People really need to get there fact straight before they go lashing out and just plain being mean to our children! IGNORANCE is a shame The people who don’t know the FACTS need to READ and research the topic before you jump the gun….you are only making yourself appear DUMB!

  • NiteNurse

    I would highly encourage everyone to go to the center for disease control website and type in TB. It contains a wealth of good information. It’s unfortunate that a person with active TB did not realize he/she had the symptoms and then caused many people to be exposed. We live in a world full of disease and infection but we can’t live in a bubble so every please don’t panic. TB is treatable and we no longer have to fear it like our parents and our grandparents did when they were younger.

  • Get the facts

    Here’s another comment from someone who should learn their facts. TB now is in the Denton High School. The phone rang today with the administration informing parents that a case had been discovered here.

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