Correction: An earlier version of this article said Thursday’s testing was being offered by Children’s Medical Office. The testing is only for AHS community members who may have been exposed and is being offered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Andover Health Division and the Andover Public Schools nursing team.

Andover High School students and staff who may have been exposed can get free tuberculosis testing after a “member of the [school] community” tested positive for TB.

“We have been alerted that some members of the student body at Andover High School had exposure to someone with a case of active Tuberculosis (TB),” North Andover-based Children’s Medical Office said last week. “We at CMO have been in touch with the Department of Public Health and have discussed their protocol, plan for testing, and our response.”

The testing is being offered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Andover Health Division and the Andover Public Schools nursing team and is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. The testing offered is a “highly sensitive and specific test and the one most likely to detect early exposure and disease,” CMO said. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health holding informational hearings in Andover to address concerns and answer questions.

Children’s Medical Office is offering testing for AHS community members who have been exposed and cannot attend Thursday’s testing at 3 p.m. on Friday. CMO’s testing will be billed to insurance. Call 978-975-3355 to schedule an appointment.

“These are lab only visits and will not provide time for significant questions,” CMO said.

Tuberculosis can be fatal without treatment. Treatment regimens for TB infections include medications used alone or in combination. Treatments regimens can last for up to nine months.

Tuberculosis spreads through inhaled germs, according to the DPH tuberculosis fact sheet. Symptoms of tuberculosis include a cough that lasts longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, fever, night sweats, coughing up blood, persistent fatigue or malaise, and chest pain

“Transmission of TB in schools is relatively uncommon since long periods of direct, close contact to an infectious person usually is required for transmission to occur,” Andover Public Schools Nursing Director Rita Casper said in the note sent to parents last week. “[The Massachusetts Department of Public Health], Andover’s Health Division, and school nursing staff are working together to determine recommendations for screening members of our community for TB and will follow up directly with individual students and staff who might have been exposed to offer testing.”

Dave Copeland photo.

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