Microscopic image of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control.

Students and staff in the Chula Vista Elementary School District may have been exposed to tuberculosis while attending Fred H. Rohr Elementary School during summer and fall 2022 sessions, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.

The school district was made aware of the exposure to students at Rohr Elementary this week.

HHSA and school district officials have been working to identify and notify those with a higher risk of exposure to tuberculosis and will provide free testing to those at increased risk for infection, according to a statement from the county. The period of potential exposure is June 27 to Aug. 26.

Tuberculosis is an airborne disease that is transmitted from person to person through inhalation of the bacteria from the air. Chances of infection are higher for people with frequent and prolonged indoor exposure to a person who is sick with TB.

“Symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss,” said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. “Most people who become infected after exposure to tuberculosis do not get sick right away.”

“Some who become infected with tuberculosis will become ill at some point in the future, sometimes even years later,” she said. “Blood tests and skin tests are effective to determine whether someone has been infected. All those notified of a high risk of exposure are encouraged to receive no-cost testing.”

The number of annual TB cases in San Diego County has decreased since the early 1990s and has stabilized in recent years. There were 201 cases reported in 2021 and 192 in 2020. As of the end of September, a total of 126 cases have been reported this year.

City News Service contributed to this article.