A case of tuberculosis has been reported at Helix Charter High School in La Mesa, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) confirmed Tuesday.
According to health officials, a person on campus was recently diagnosed with TB, and may have exposed students and staff to the infection. The possible exposure period was from September 2013 to Feb. 21, 2014.
Health and school officials would not confirm whether the infected person was a student or teacher, but said the exposure to the infection could've taken place across several classrooms on campus during the aforementioned time period.
Health officials said symptoms of active TB include a persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss. TB usually spreads through many hours of close, indoor contact with the infected individual. It can be treated and cured with medication.
“Most people who are exposed do not develop TB,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., County deputy public health officer. “TB is easiest to treat and cure with medication when identified early, which is why it’s important to identify those who have been exposed.”
The HHSA said free TB testing for students who may have been exposed will take place at the school Thursday and Friday. For more information on this potential exposure, contact the County of San Diego TB Program at (619) 692-8621.
According to the HHSA, TB is not uncommon in San Diego. To date in 2014, there have been 14 cases of the disease reported across the county. Last year, there were 206 cases of TB reported in San Diego, and in 2012, there were 234.