County health officials are warning Grossmont High School students and staff about tuberculosis after a person there started treatment for it.
GHS is trying to notify people who may have been exposed to the infectious disease between Sept. 2 and Sept. 17, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
Potentially vulnerable students can get a free TB test on Oct. 14 on the GHS campus, located at 1100 Murray Drive in El Cajon.
Symptoms of the illness include a fever, night sweats, persistent cough, chest pain, chills and unexplained weight loss.
“Most people who are exposed to TB do not develop the disease, but when it does occur, it can be treated and cured with medication,” said County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten. “That’s why it’s important to identify those who have been exposed.”
TB, which usually attacks the lungs, is spread through the air, often when an infected person sneezes or coughs. People who catch the disease but show no symptoms have latent TB, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, some infected with latent TB can develop the actual disease weeks or even years later if their immune system becomes weak.
The disease is not uncommon in the San Diego area, the HHSA says. In 2014, 132 cases have been reported.
Last year saw the lowest number of cases – 206 – since a peak year in 1993, which had 469 cases.
For more on potential exposure, the HHSA recommends calling the County TB Control Program at 619-692-8621.