A student at Riverside City College has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis and Riverside County health officials are working with school officials to identify students and staff who might have been exposed to the illness.
The student is receiving treatment and is expected to recover, although the individual will not return to school until a medical clearance is issued. The student is not being identified due to confidentiality requirements.
Riverside County health officials have sent out a letter to students and the parents of students under 18 who have been identified as potentially being exposed to this illness. Staff members who may have been exposed will receive notification from the college.
As a precautionary measure, the health department is recommending that anyone who receives the notice be screened with a TB skin test at an upcoming testing clinic. Those who receive the letter can also opt to be seen by their own medical provider. Those who do not receive notification are considered not to be at risk for exposure.
Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser emphasized the risk of transmission is very low.
“While the risk of infection is low, it is important that those who are notified take the time to get tested,” Kaiser said. “It will provide peace of mind for those who are concerned about being exposed or begin the next step in the evaluation process.”
Tuberculosis is a disease spread by close prolonged contact with an individual who has active tuberculosis. People can become infected with TB 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 TB bacteria to others. 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 .