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Tuberculosis testing urged after mother of preschooler tests positive for illness

Tuberculosis testing urged after mother of preschooler tests positive for illness

Author: SuperUser Account/Wednesday, May 13, 2015/Categories: Uncategorized, Living

The parent of a preschool student in the Desert Sands Unified School District has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis (TB). The Riverside County Department of Public Health is working with district officials to identify others who might have been exposed to the illness.

The parent, who is not being identified due to confidentiality requirements, is receiving treatment and is expected to recover. The school also is not being identified because of confidentiality concerns.

There are no indications tuberculosis has spread to students, staff or other parents, but health officials are encouraging TB testing for those who might have had limited exposure. A letter is being sent to parents who have been identified as being at-risk of TB exposure, or whose children might have been in contact with the ill parent.

Staff members who might have been exposed will receive letters from the school district.

As a precautionary measure, the health department recommends that anyone who receives the letter be screened with a TB skin test at a clinic being planned later this month. They can also be seen by their own medical provider. Those who do not receive notification are not considered to be at risk for TB exposure. Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said that although the risk is not high, there is some risk of transmission and that testing can provide parents with peace of mind.

The well-being of our students, staff, and family members remains the top priority for Desert Sands Unified School District, said district spokeswoman Mary Perry. Staff and parents have been assured that all precautions have been taken and are encouraged to participate in the testing clinic, she said.

Tuberculosis is a disease spread by close prolonged contact with an individual who has active tuberculosis. People can become infected by breathing air exhaled by someone who is sick with active TB. Left untreated, TB can result in serious complications. Common symptoms include a productive cough, unexplained weight loss, fever, and feeling tired. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick.

A person with inactive (latent) TB cannot spread the bacteria to others and being exposed to TB does not make a person contagious.

Anyone concerned about TB can contact their health care provider or the Public Health Department Disease Control at 951-358-5107. For additional information about tuberculosis, visit the department’s website www.rivco-diseasecontrol.org

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