San Diego

Students in Sweetwater Union High School District Maybe Exposed to TB

Two separate cases may have exposed students to the potentially serious bacterial disease

Students in the Sweetwater Union High School District may have been exposed to tuberculosis recently, announced County officials Thursday.

There were two cases that could have exposed the public to the potentially serious bacterial disease at a few separate high schools, announced the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

“Symptoms of active TB disease include cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer, in a statement.

One case of potential exposure occurred at San Ysidro High School between Feb. 18 and June 2. The school is located on Airway Road, just south of the Otay Mesa freeway, with more than 2,000 students enrolled.

County officials said the students and staff were notified of their possible exposure. The HHSA will offer free TB tests on Friday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school.

“Most people who are exposed to TB do not develop [the] active disease," said Wooten. "Those who test positive for TB can be treated with medication to prevent or cure active disease; that’s why it’s important for those with possible exposure to get tested.”

A second potential exposure took place at Hilltop High School between Aug. 28 and Aug. 30.  The school is located on Claire Avenue, just west of Interstate 805 in Chula Vista. Anyone who may have been exposed will be notified by the school, said County officials.

TB tests will take place on Monday, Sept. 11 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the school, according to County officials.

Although TB is not uncommon in San Diego, cases have been decreasing in recent years, said County officials. There were 234 TB cases reported in 2015 and 258 cases in 2016.

Currently, there have been 130 cases reported in San Diego this year.

The bacteria is mainly spread through the air by coughing, speaking or singing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tuberculosis mainly affects the lungs. Active symptoms include a bad cough that lasts several weeks, chest pain and coughing up blood or phlegm. 

Call the County TB Control Program at (619)692-8621 for more information on this potential exposure.

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