Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser has determined that tuberculosis test results at Indio High School from about 100 students were within the normal levels health that officials expect to find in the general public. At this time, testing will not be expanded to other students or staff.
A positive test result means the person had been exposed to TB at some time in the past, but does not necessarily mean the person has an active case of the disease. The students were given skin tests Tuesday and results were read Thursday at the school. Kaiser said the number of "positive" readings were within expected levels.
Some students went to their own medical provider for testing, while about a dozen staff members were tested by a district-approved physician.
Tuesday's testing was done after a student was recently diagnosed with active TB. 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.
Those who tested positive will get a chest x-ray and follow up with an appropriate provider. The x-ray will help determine whether an individual might have a latent TB infection, which is not contagious, rather than active TB. Per established protocols, follow-up testing also will be performed in four to six weeks on those who tested negative to confirm the negative results.
No testing was needed for those individuals who did not receive the notification letter because they were not considered to be at risk for exposure.
Tuberculosis is a disease spread through the air during prolonged, repeated and close contact with an individual who is infected with active tuberculosis. People may contract TB when breathing air exhaled by someone who is sick with TB. When left untreated, TB can result in complications that can be serious. TB is not spread by shaking hands, sharing food or drink, or via bed linens or toilet seats. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. A person with inactive (latent) TB cannot spread it to others.