About 100 Indio High School students tested for tuberculosis after a fellow student tested positive for the illness displayed the expected levels of latent or inactive tuberculosis normally seen among the general public, county health officials said Thursday.
County public health officials conducted free TB skin tests Tuesday for students who were potentially exposed to the illness, following a positive diagnosis earlier this month for one unidentified student.
The student is still receiving treatment and is expected to recover, but has not yet returned to school, pending medical clearance.
The health department sent letters to notify those believed to have been exposed while stressing that the risk of transmission is low. Those who didn’t receive notifications of exposure are not considered to be at risk and don’t require testing, officials said.
Test results read at the school Thursday indicated the number of positive readings were within expected levels, according to Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser.
Riverside County Department of Public Health spokesman Jose Arballo Jr. said the proportion of students with positive results represented what usually is seen with any random subsection of the general population. Arballo also said there was no indication that any of those positive results were connected to the one student’s diagnosis.
Those who did test positive were advised to get a chest X-ray that can help determine whether an individual has TB or has simply been exposed to it, according to health officials, who noted that those with latent or inactive tuberculosis cannot spread it to others.
County health officials will not be providing chest X-rays; they recommend that those who need them follow up with an appropriate provider.
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, which generally affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body, 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 experience serious complications.