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County investigating possible tuberculosis exposure at Sycuan Casino

Visitors are seen on the floor of the Sycuan casino in East County, Aug. 14, 2020.
Zoë Meyers
Visitors are seen on the floor of the Sycuan casino in East County, Aug. 14, 2020.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency was continuing Tuesday to investigate a person at Sycuan Casino who was recently diagnosed with tuberculosis and may have exposed patrons and employees.

According to the HHSA, the dates of exposure were from April 1 to Dec. 9, 2021. HHSA representatives said they are working with Sycuan Casino officials to notify those who were potentially exposed.

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Tuberculosis is transmitted from person to person through indoor air during prolonged contact with an infectious person. The exposure risk for patrons was low due to COVID-19 safety measures like masks, social distancing and divider walls in place at the casino, according to the HHSA.

"While many people exposed to tuberculosis do not become infected, some will be, and an early infection may not show any symptoms," Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer, said in a statement. "Although we don't think this is a high-risk exposure, testing is recommended for employees who may have been exposed to the infected individual for a significant period of time."

Symptoms of infectious tuberculosis include persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss. People with symptoms of TB, or who are immune-compromised and may not show obvious symptoms, should consult their medical provider to be evaluated. Tuberculosis can be cured with an extended course of specific antibiotics.

More information on the potential exposure is available by contacting the San Diego County TB Control Program at 619-692-8621.

According to the HHSA, tuberculosis is common in the San Diego region and, although decreasing since the early 1990s, case counts have stabilized in recent years. In 2020, 192 cases were reported in San Diego County. Last year's TB case numbers have not been finalized yet, but so far, 164 cases have been reported in 2021.

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