La Mesa, California - A person at Helix Charter High School in La Mesa was recently diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) and may have exposed students and staff, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported.

HHSA is working closely with the school to notify anyone who was potentially exposed. The period of possible exposure was from Sept. 8, 2013 through Feb. 21. Free testing for students who were potentially exposed will take place on March 6 and 7 at the school, which is located at 7323 University Avenue in La Mesa.

“Many hours of close, indoor contact with an infected individual is usually needed to spread TB to others and most people who are exposed do not develop TB,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., County deputy public health officer. “TB is easiest to treat and cure with medication when identified early, which is why it’s important to identify those who have been exposed.”

Symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss.

Tuberculosis is not uncommon in the San Diego region. There have been 14 cases reported to date in 2014. There were 206 TB cases in 2013 and 234 reported in 2012.

For more information about the potential exposure, call the County of San Diego TB Program at (619) 692-8621.