TB diagnosed in San Diego airport employee

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SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego International Airport employee was diagnosed with tuberculosis, the County of San Diego Communications Office reported Friday.

Though the time during which exposure to travelers and airport employees was possible lasted from January 1 to May 29 of this year, officials with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency said exposure was unlikely due to the nature of the employee's work.

According to interim County deputy public health officer Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed.,  “In most cases, a person has to be in close contact with someone who has TB for a long period of time to be at risk for getting TB. In this case the employee does not spend significant time in any given area, had minimal close contact with employees and contact with members of the public was limited to short periods of time.”

County officials said none of the infected employee's close contacts showed symptoms of TB after initial testing. Even so, Sidelinger said not everyone who has TB suffers from related symptoms, which include cough, fever, sudden weight loss and problems regulating body temperature. County officials encouraged those who worked for Southwest Airlines, the Airport Authority or G2 Secure Staff, LLC, during the time of potential exposure to contact their employers for additional information.

"While this exposure does not constitute a risk to the general public, early treatment can prevent progression to the infectious form of the disease, so it is important for people at risk of developing TB to get tested and treated if needed," Sidelinger said.

Contact the County TB Control Program at 619-692-8621 for more information on how and where to get tested.

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