Helix High students, staff to be tested for tuberculosis - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Helix High students, staff to be tested for tuberculosis

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LA MESA (CBS 8 / CNS) - An individual at Helix High School in La Mesa has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, the county of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency has announced.

The unidentified person might have exposed students and employees between Sept. 8 and Feb. 21, according to the HHSA.

Up to 300 people at the school are now urged to undergo tuberculosis testing. Health workers say the infected person likely spread the disease through coughing. Free testing for students is scheduled for Thursday and Friday on campus.

Agency officials said they were working to identify those who might have been exposed.

"Many hours of close, indoor contact with an infected individual is usually needed to spread TB to others and most people who are exposed do not develop TB," said Dr. Eric McDonald, the county's deputy public health officer. "TB is easiest to treat and cure with medication when identified early, which is why it's important to identify those who have been exposed."

Symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss, the HHSA said.

There have been 14 cases of tuberculosis reported so far this year in San Diego County. Last year, there were 206 TB cases, with 234 reported in 2012.

Information about the potential exposure at Helix High can be obtained from the county TB Program at (619) 692-8621.

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