Indio High School students, faculty tested for tuberculosis

INDIO, Calif.

One-hundred-thirty-one selected students were tested for possible exposure on Monday. Of those, 45 were determined to need further testing.

Follow-up X-rays on Thursday identified five students who required further examination, according to the Riverside County Department of Public Health. That prompted a decision to test 1,800 people at the school.

"While the number of those who tested positive is higher than we would expect, that does not mean the illness has spread or will spread," Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said. "The likelihood of the illness being passed from one person to the next is remote."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that usually attack the lungs, but it can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. It is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

It is not spread by shaking someone's hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or kissing.

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