Some kids stuck with needle in the clear

Initial test results for blood-borne pathogens show at least some local middle school students are in the clear after a November science experiment went wrong, San Mateo County Health Department officials announced Monday.

A substitute science teacher on Nov. 16 pricked the fingers of approximately 30 students at John F. Kennedy Middle School with a lancet as part of a science experiment on living cells, reportedly usingthe same one on several students. The students were instructed to look at their blood cells under a microscope.

Redwood City Elementary School District officials alerted the county Health Department and arranged individual meetings with parents after learning of the incident from a concerned parent. Health officials said last month that the risk of contracting any diseases in this manner — and among this age group — was very low.

Based on initial screening and test results that took place Nov. 21, the Health Department has now concluded that “there is no health risk associated with the exposure experienced by the Life Science class students at John F. Kennedy Middle School,” according to a statement released Monday.

The department, however, still recommends that the children be tested for immunity to hepatitis B, infection with hepatitis B, infection with hepatitis C and infection with HIV.

The Health Department tested 29 students at the school. They were meeting individually on Monday with affected parents to discuss the results. Further counseling or testing will be available in May 2007.

tramroop@examiner.com

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