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County investigating possible tuberculosis exposure at San Diego City College

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.

The county's Tuberculosis Program is working with San Diego City College and SDCC's Early Education Center Friday to notify employees, students and children potentially exposed to tuberculosis on the SDCC campus.

Exposures to the general public, most SDCC students and faculty and to other employees are believed to be limited, a county statement reads.

The dates of potential exposure are from Sept. 15, 2023 to Feb. 21, 2024. Those known to have been potentially exposed have been directly notified and have been provided direction from health officials. People sick with TB may be sick for many months before they are diagnosed, and as such, exposure periods can be long.


"Symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss," Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, said in a statement. "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 tuberculosis 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 in determining whether someone has been infected.

"Unfortunately, young children are at higher risk of rapid progression to active TB disease, so complete evaluation and preventive treatment for young children is particularly important," Wooten said.

Taking medicines for latent TB infection can cure the infection and keep these people from ever getting active TB disease. Young children should complete a TB test, as well as chest x-rays, and in most instances should receive preventive medication until their evaluation is complete.

According to the health agency, there were 192 TB cases in the county 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 a latent TB infection and are at risk for developing active TB without preventive treatment, health officials said. People who test positive for TB, but who do not have symptoms of active TB, should get a chest X-ray and talk to a medical provider, as they most likely have a latent TB infection.


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.

Individuals who would like more information on this potential exposure should call the county TB Control Program at 619-692-5565.