Health department to collect data about Bayshore HS after dozens develop cancer

BRADENTON, FLA - The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County will begin collecting data of people connected to Bayshore High School after they expressed health concerns.

RELATED: County commissioners investigate cancer concerns at Bayshore High School

The DOH and the Manatee County School Board held a press conference Monday about the concerns. The county commissioners requested more information. ABC Action News learned the data will be collected from former students, teachers, as well as Bayshore High School staff.

Authorities said they do not have any evidence of any issues at the school, but are looking into it.

“We definitely agree that we need to determine if there is a cancer cluster and if it was caused by their going to Bayshore High School. So we encourage everyone to please participate in this study. The more information we have, the more valid it’s going to be,” Health Officer, Dr. Jennifer Bencie with the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County said.

RELATED: Alleged 'Cancer Cluster' focus of special Manatee County meeting

ABC Action News has been following this story after former students contacted authorities and said they had serious cancer concerns with the school property.

On Facebook, a group of former students claim about 170 students currently have cancer and 92 have died from it.

RELATED: Cancer concerns among Bayshore graduates

People can begin filling out the form Dec. 1 through the end of Feb. Dr. Bencie said that period could be extended. 

“We understand and completely agree that the health and well being of those, who attended the facility, is an extremely important matter,” Dr. Bencie said.

Cheryl Jozsa’s sister passed away from a form of leukemia in 1999. Jozsa said 5 years later, her sister's classmate died from the same type of cancer. She said she has tried to get health officials to listen for years. She is the administrator of the Facebook page that connects Bayshore High School alumni in the search for answers. For the first time, Jozsa feels officials are being responsive.

“It’s a step in the right direction. I just hope that every person is contacted and, even residents in the area, should be contacted as well,” Jozsa said.

Jozsa said she is not sure what the source may be, but believes there is a problem either with the school or the environment.

Health officials stressed this afternoon, during a press conference, thhat contractors conducted a number of environmental studies and did not find any contaminants in the soil or water.

“And all we’re trying to do is to save {someone’s} life. That’s all we want to do,” Jozsa said.

The patient form has to be mailed or hand delivered. You need to mail it or drop it off at: 

The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County
Division of Disease Control and Health Protection
410 - 6th Avenue East
Bradenton, FL  34208

For more on the investigation, click here.
To fill out a patient listing form and be a part of the study, click here.

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