Health Department investigating possible TB exposure at Hanks High School

150 students possibly exposed

Health Department investigating...

El PASO, Texas - The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is investigating a possible Tuberculosis (TB) exposure involving 150 students at Hanks High School.

Health officials will be sending letters to the parents informing them that their child may have had close contact with someone with active TB. Health officials are recommending the children be screened for TB through a blood draw.

Health officials said Tuberculosis is a bacterial illness acquired through breathing in infected droplets from the cough or sneeze of a person with active TB.

"Our message to our community is not to be alarmed," said Fernando Gonzalez, lead epidemiologist for the city's department of health

Fernandez tells ABC-7 an average healthy individual cannot fall victim to tuberculosis easily.

"We need to insist it's not an easy transmittable disease it takes much time and it takes much contact," Gonzalez said.


A spokeswoman with YISD emailed ABC-7 the following statement: 

"We are working closely with the health department and now have their permission to disclose that Hanks High School is the campus where the active case of tuberculosis was found. The health department instructed us not to disclose this information earlier today. But after we received numerous parent concerns, they have now authorized us to name Hanks High School as the affected campus. We cannot disclose any other details as per the directive of the city health department. We apologize for any undue anxiety this may have caused parents at our other campuses, and we appreciate the community's patience and understanding in this matter. Thank you."

"We will continue to work closely with school officials to make sure those specific students who have been identified at-risk are tested," said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. "The health and well-being of our community is our utmost priority."

Resendes is urging parents who receive the Department of Public Health letter to participate in the screening process so their children are tested.
Parents who receive a letter from the Department of Public Health may call the City of El Paso Department of Public Health at 915-212-6609.

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