Staff member at Tuscany Hills Elementary School suspected of having tuberculosis; testing to be recommended for some students

A staff member at Tuscany Hills Elementary School in Lake Elsinore is suspected of having active tuberculosis, and Riverside County health officials are working with school representatives to identify students and staff who might have been exposed to the illness.

Riverside County health officials will send out letters to the parents or guardians of students who might have been exposed to the illness. The school also will notify staff members who might have been exposed. Parents who receive the letter from Public Health are being advised to have their child tested by their own medical provider or at a local public health clinic. Those who do not receive notification are considered not to be at risk for exposure, and TB testing is not recommended.

Barbara Cole, director of disease control at Riverside University Health System-Public Health, emphasized the risk of transmission is low.

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

Tuberculosis is a disease spread through the air during prolonged, repeated and close contact with an individual who is infected with active tuberculosis. People can contract TB when breathing air exhaled by someone who is sick with the illness. When left untreated, TB can result in serious complications.

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.

The staff member is not being identified due to confidentiality requirements.

For more information, call 951.358.5107.

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