A Santa Maria High School student has an active case of tuberculosis and has been quarantined, school and health officials announced Wednesday.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is working with the school and family to test people who had close contact with the ill student, spokeswoman Susan Klein-Rothschild said.
There is no vaccine for tuberculosis, and it's only contagious once it becomes active, she said. Some people can have the bacteria laying dormant for years and it will never become active.
Public Health is working proactively with the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District to do extensive screening of everyone who had close contact with the ill student so they can treat people before it becomes active, she said.
"You have to know about it to treat it," she noted.
Parents, school staff and students have all been notified, district spokesman Kenny Klein said.
Testing includes skin or blood testing, and chest X-rays in some cases, and anyone who tests positive will be treated to prevent active TB and avoid the spread of the disease.
Santa Barbara County isn’t giving out any additional information about the student because of confidentiality, Klein-Rothschild said. It's unclear how the illness was diagnosed.
The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is hosting a public meeting to teach people more about TB and interventions being taken at Santa Maria High School. The meeting is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m. Friday at the high school’s cafeteria at 901 S. Broadway.