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County warns of potential TB exposure at Mission Valley YMCA

An undated X-ray of a Tuberculosis patient's lung.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
An undated X-ray of a Tuberculosis patient's lung.

On Friday, San Diego County health officials announced that people who used the Mission Valley YMCA branch may have been exposed to tuberculosis.

Most exposures occurred from March 5 to Oct. 30 at the Mission Valley YMCA at 5505 Friars Road, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.

Exposures occurred almost exclusively from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., health officials, adding that YMCA members believed to have had the longest cumulative duration of exposure during the time periods have already been notified individually, and broader notification was provided to all members and staff who were exposed.


"The number of people diagnosed with active TB in San Diego County has decreased since the early 1990s and has stabilized in recent years. There were 192 cases in 2020 and 201 people reported with active disease in 2021. In 2022, 208 people were reported with active TB disease in San Diego County. An estimated 175,000 people in San Diego County have latent TB infection and are at risk for developing active TB without preventive treatment," county officials said in a statement.

Tuberculosis is an airborne disease that is transmitted from person to person through inhalation of the bacteria from the air. The chance of infection is higher for people with prolonged indoor exposure to a person who is sick. Brief interactions with a person with contagious tuberculosis are less likely to lead to an infection than prolonged or repeated exposures, according to county officials.

People with active tuberculosis, also known as TB, are often unaware that they have the disease and may be contagious for several months before being diagnosed. Once the county is made aware, typically through a test result reported by a medical provider, communicable disease investigators conduct extensive interviews with the person with TB to determine the length of time that they were infected and locations where exposures may have occurred, according to the county Communications Office.

"Symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss," County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said.

Affected people are advised to consult with their medical provider or contact the county's TB Control Program.


People who test positive for TB but who don't have active symptoms are advised by county officials get a chest X-ray and talk to a medical provider, as a latent TB infection could be possible. People in this situation are infected with TB, but the infection is essentially dormant or "sleeping." Taking medicines for latent TB infection can cure the infection and keep people from becoming deathly ill.

"Most people who become infected after exposure to tuberculosis do not get sick right away. This is called latent TB infection. Some who become infected with TB will become ill in the future, sometimes even years later, if their latent TB infection is not treated. Blood tests and skin tests are effective to determine whether someone has been infected," Wooten added.

County officials said individuals with symptoms of active TB and those who are immune-compromised were advised to seek a medical provider to rule out active tuberculosis and to discuss treatment. More information regarding the exposure can be found by calling the TB Control Program at 619-692-5565.