The Pasco County Health Department is recommending a total of 31 students and staff to be tested for tuberculosis because they may have been exposed to it on a school bus.
According to Deanna Krautner with the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County, the students and staff were riding on a school bus with a person who has tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis, commonly referred to as “TB”, is bacteria that spreads through the air from one person to another.
As a precaution, parents and employees who may have been in contact with the infected individual have also been contacted.
"Any parent who (is) listening, if you haven't received a phone call, your child was not exposed," Linda Cobbe with Pasco County Schools said.
“When we respond to public health events, we need to follow established Protocols,” said County Health Officer Mike Napier. "Working with Pasco County Schools and parents in this process is key to successfully protecting everyone's health."
The health department says tuberculosis is spread when an infected person coughs, speaks, or sings.
"Tuberculosis is treatable and the letter that we sent home gives them a list of symptoms that you would experience, if you did have an active case of tuberculosis," Cobbe said.
The students and staff, who were potentially exposed, go to Marchman Technical College, Deer Park Elementary, and Cotee River Elementary School.
Leeann Perrone's daughter attends Deer Park Elementary. She has not been contacted by the health department, but she is concerned.
"I have an issue with them deciding that 31 people, who were just contained to the bus, are a priority. It's an airborne traveling disease that again I should be notified about. Again, it's up to my discretion as to whether or not I want my daughter tested for it," she said.
Perrone wants her daughter tested. She works in the health care industry and may not send her daughter to school tomorrow.
"I'm going to have her at the primary care tomorrow morning to have her test(ed)," Perrone said.
According to the district, the person who has tuberculosis was told to stay home in order to not potentially expose anyone else.
"I'm more than slightly concerned because I wasn't notified. Tuberculosis is airborne and I'm going to have her tested," Perrone said.
Symptoms can include a bad cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks, pain in the chest and coughing up blood.
For more information on TB, visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/tuberculosis/index.html or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/tb/.