Health

Three Unrelated Tuberculosis Cases Reported in San Diego County

Three unrelated cases of active tuberculosis have been reported, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today: one at San Ysidro High School and one each on two docked Navy ships being worked on by contractors.

HHSA and Sweetwater Union High School District officials are notifying individuals who were potentially exposed at the high school from Jan. 16 to May 31. HHSA staff provided no-cost testing for students who have been identified as potentially exposed.  Identified staff will be provided testing by the Sweetwater Union High School District.

The Navy and HHSA are working with contractors to identify people who were possibly exposed to TB working on the two Navy vessels:

  • Huntington Ingalls Industries employees who worked on the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), docked at Naval Base San Diego, from January 10 to June 8.
  • General Dynamics NASSCO employees working on the USS Makin Island (LHD-8), docked at NASSCO from March 23 to July 18.

The ships were not accessible to the public and exposure to any Navy personnel was extremely limited.

The contractors will be working with their occupational health providers to offer free testing to their employees.

People who would like more information on these potential exposures are asked to call:

  • San Ysidro High School: (619) 710-2354
  • Huntington Ingalls Industries: (858) 522-6163
  • General Dynamics NASCCO: (619) 544-8861
  • Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit Five: (619) 556-7070
  • County TB Control Program: (619) 692-8621

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

“Testing is recommended for all those exposed to assure they are not infected, since initial infection usually has no symptoms,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “For any infected individuals, 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. For people with symptoms of TB, or who are immune-compromised and may not show symptoms, it is important that they see their medical provider to rule out TB. Tuberculosis can be cured with antibiotics.

The number of annual TB cases in San Diego County has decreased since the early 1990s and has stabilized in recent years. There were 258 cases reported in 2016, 237 in 2017, and 226 cases were reported in 2018.

 

 

 

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact