An Indio High School student has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis, and county health officials said Wednesday they are working to determine whether any other students or staff were exposed to the illness.
The unnamed student is currently being treated and is expected to recover, but health officials believe 165 of the teen’s classmates may have been exposed, as well as an unspecified number of school staff members.
The health department is sending letters to notify those believed to be exposed, while stressing that the risk of transmission is low.
Anyone who receives a notice of potential exposure is urged to undergo a tuberculosis skin test. A clinic providing skin tests will be held later this month at the school.
If a skin test comes back positive, the next step is a chest X-ray that can help determine whether an individual has TB or has simply been exposed to it, according to health officials.
Those who don’t receive notifications of exposure are not considered to be at risk, officials said.
“While the risk of infection is slight, it is important that those who are notified take the time to get tested,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s public health officer. “The testing is simple and does not take much time, although it can provide peace of mind.”
The diagnosis marks the third time the illness has been detected at a county school this year.
A Desert Mirage High School student was treated for a potential infection in February, and an active diagnosis was detected in a Cahuilla Elementary School student in June.
Tuberculosis is spread through the air during prolonged, repeated and close contact with an infected individual. It is not spread by shaking hands or through sharing food, bed linens or toilet seats. Not everyone who becomes infected develops symptoms, but those who do can have serious complications.