February 13, 2014 at 1:00 am

Mich. high school to undergo tuberculosis testing

Kalamazoo — About 300 students and staff will be tested for tuberculosis at a western Michigan school after a male student was found to have the infection.

Testing will start Monday at Kalamazoo Central High School. But a county health official noted that the chances anyone else has contracted TB, an airborne infection that attacks the lungs, are “very, very slim.”

“This sounds scary, but it’s not that scary,” Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services health officer Linda Vail told reporters Thursday. “I have no expectations that we’ll have many tests coming back positive.”

“This is not a highly contagious disease,” she added. “You have to be next to someone and inhale when they cough or sneeze.”

According to state health statistics, there were 151 cases of TB in Michigan last year and 21 so far in 2014.

The Kalamazoo student was not identified. He had been experiencing tuberculosis symptoms since December, and it was confirmed Tuesday that he had TB.

The Kalamazoo County health department’s TB control program will pay for Monday’s tests, chest X-rays and treatment.

Central High parent Jennifer Keyser told the Kalamazoo Gazette that she received a phone call Thursday from school officials saying her son “had been around the other student” and needed to be tested.