GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Health officials are preparing to test nearly 200 Grand Prairie high school students after learning one may have been exposed to Tuberculosis.

A South Grand Prairie High School senior is sick with what could be a case of the disease, and school leaders have alerted other students and their parents of that possibility.

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While the test results to confirm whether the sick student has TB will not come back for another six to eight weeks, health officials are preparing to test other students for the disease.

On Monday, Dallas County health officials called Grand Prairie ISD to inform them about the sick student, who had a questionable health screening.

A letter was sent to all 2400 South Grand Prairie High students, plus staff members, alerting them they may have been exposed to someone who may have TB. Of that group, as many as 180 people who were potentially in contact with the student were told they will be tested at the school by the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department next week.

“This really is precautionary and that’s kind of the way that Dallas County approaches these things,” said Sam Buchmeyer, GPISD Director of Public Information. “It’s better to get out in front of it, and do the testing and check to make sure, instead of having it down the line, when you do have a confirmed case, and then it’s a little bit more serious.”

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that usually attacks a person’s lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body too. It can spread when someone with TB coughs or sneezes and spreads the germs.

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Symptoms include weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. People with an already weak immune system are most vulnerable to the disease.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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