Valley News -

Lake Elsinore employee suspected of having tuberculosis


Last updated 12/21/2018 at 1:53pm

LAKE ELSINORE - A Lake Elsinore Unified School District employee is being treated for potential active tuberculosis, prompting health officials on Friday, Dec. 22 to issue an advisory recommending that anyone who may have come into contact with the patient be tested for TB.

“While the risk of infection is low, it's important that parents who receive the notification letter get their child tested,'' said Riverside County Communicable Diseases Specialist Barbara Cole. “The testing is quick and can provide peace of mind for both parents and children.''

According to county Department of Public Health officials, a staffer from Tuscany Hills Elementary School recently exhibited symptoms of tuberculosis, though it has not been confirmed whether the individual, whose identity was not released, is suffering from active TB.

“This person was in a classroom environment,'' LEUSD spokesman Mark Dennis said, without specifying whether the employee is a teacher or teacher's aide.

He said an estimated 75 children, fellow staff and parent volunteers may have had contact with the person. Health officials were in the process of sending letters to all concerned parties to encourage they receive the TB tests.

TB screening begins with a quick skin scan. If that turns up positive, the person is asked to take a chest X-ray to confirm infection.

Dennis told CNS that the Tuscany Hills Elementary School employee is at home, on sick leave.

He would not say when the leave of absence began.

The school district's winter break started today, and classes will not resume again until Jan. 15.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tuberculosis is spread through coughing, sneezing, singing and speaking. People cannot be infected through hand-shaking, kissing or handling bedding and toilet seats, according to the CDC.

Health officials noted that some people can be infected with TB without manifesting symptoms, which include fever, coughing, night sweats, and chest pain.

Those with inactive TB are generally not infectious.

According to Cole, there have been 61 confirmed TB cases countywide so far this year, and there were 60 documented cases in 2017. In 2016, 51 people were infected.


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