IRVINGTON, Ala. (WALA) - Third graders at Pearl Haskew Elementary face mandatory tuberculosis tests Wednesday morning.
This after it was recently discovered that a teacher tested positive for the bacteria.
"She's really awesome and I wish she never got sick," said third grade student Nevaeh Eblen. "We just want to know if I'm going to be sick or anybody else is going to be sick, and we hope nobody is."
Mobile County Health officials said they're taking steps to prevent the spread of tuberculosis at Pearl Haskew elementary and on Tuesday night, parents had a chance to learn the latest about efforts to treat the students.
Health officials said a 46-year-old female teacher tested positive for TB but did not have obvious symptoms, so Jan. 23, all 116 third graders at the school will be tested.
"It's shared by coughing, mucus, that kind of thing. The teacher who had this had a systematic reactions to it and did not have any coughing or sneezing ,so that makes us feel more confident that everything will be fine here at Haskew," said Mobile County School superintendent Martha Peek.
Students will be injected with PPD just under the skin on their left forearm and Friday, officials will read the skin test.
"We want to leave it alone, make sure the kids don't scratch it, do not put a band aid on it. You just want to leave it alone and pretend it's not there as much as possible," said the TB program manager at the Mobile County Health Department, Megan Finnigan.
A positive TB skin test shows a person is infected with the TB bacteria. It does not tell whether he or she has contracted the disease.
Annette McIntyre's daughter Sarah is a kindergartner at Pearl Haskew elementary.
Health officials said the disease affects the lungs and is spread through the air. So McIntyre thinks it's better to be checked.
"I'm getting [my daughter] tested anyway, just to be on the safe side," said McIntyre. "It still doesn't hurt to have her tested. Because you know, they're not vaccinated against stuff like that when they go to get their shots so it doesn't hurt to have 'em tested."
County health officials said it's very unlikely that the infection will spread across the school.
Finnigan, said, "We want to be proactive and that's why we are making the testing mandatory for all third graders. But we are opening it up for the rest of the school."
If your child is absent from school, you're asked to take them to the Mobile County Health Department Tuberculosis Clinic.
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