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Tuberculosis Case Reported At Morse High School, Students Possibly Exposed

Image of the Morse High School sign from Google Maps taken in April 2019.

Credit: Google Maps

Above: Image of the Morse High School sign from Google Maps taken in April 2019.

A person at Morse High School was recently diagnosed with tuberculosis and may have exposed students and staff, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced Tuesday.

HHSA is working with the San Diego Unified School District to notify those who were potentially exposed and provide TB testing. The dates of exposure are from Feb. 28 to March 13 of this year.

Morse High School, in the Skyline area of San Diego, is currently participating in social distancing protocols due to COVID-19 and onsite TB screening will not be available.

According to the HHSA, students who were identified as being potentially exposed to TB can get tested with their primary care provider. Students who do not have a medical provider should contact the county's TB Control Program at (619) 692-8621 to arrange an appointment for a free test.

School teachers and staff will be provided testing by the San Diego Unified School District.

The disease is transmitted from person to person through indoor air during prolonged contact with an infectious person. Most people who are exposed to TB do not become infected.

"Testing is recommended for all those exposed to make sure they are not infected, since initial infection usually has no symptoms," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "If a person is infected, early diagnosis and prompt treatment can prevent the infectious form of the disease."

Symptoms of infectious TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss. People infected with the disease, or who are immunocompromised, may not show symptoms. It can be cured with antibiotics.

Tuberculosis is not uncommon in the region but has been decreasing since the early 1990s and has stabilized in recent years.

In 2013, a total of 206 cases were reported in the county, the lowest number since local TB cases peaked at 469 in 1993. There were 237 cases reported in 2017 and 226 in 2018. Last year, 265 residents were diagnosed with TB. To date, 67 cases have been reported in 2020.

For more information on this potential exposure, the county HHSA recommends calling the county TB Control Program or Morse High School at (619) 725-5519.

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