San Diego/ Health & Lifestyle
AI Assisted Icon
Published on April 12, 2024
San Diego's Father Joe's Village on Alert for TB Risk After Prolonged Exposure IncidentSource: County of San Diego

TB scare sweeps through Father Joe's Village as officials report a potential five-month exposure window at the Joan Kroc Center (JKC). In a recent public health notification, it was revealed that residents, employees, and volunteers were at risk of having contracted tuberculosis between October 13, 2023, and March 13. This health alert is separate from a previous TB exposure incident last November at another one of Father Joe’s facilities.

Public health officers are sounding the alarm on an airborne disease identified within homeless communities. According to officials at the County’s Tuberculosis Program, TB bacteria are propagated through the air from individuals who are sick when they cough, speak, or even breathe. This has prompted a unity with Father Joe’s Villages to urge those with significant indoor exposure to get tested. "Symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss," Wilma Wooten, M.D., County public health officer, said.

San Diego County sees a high rate of tuberculosis among the homeless due to their living conditions and limited access to healthcare. Nonetheless, the surprising statistics indicate that a staggering 90% of the diagnosed TB cases in San Diego County were not among the homeless. Proving that this contagious disease doesn't discriminate, it becomes crucial to address TB infections in various demographics within the population.

TB cases in the region had been on the descent for decades since the early '90s. But recent years have shown a concerning rise, with counts reaching 208 in 2022 and hitting 243 active cases in 2023. "Most people who become infected after exposure to tuberculosis do not get sick right away. This is called latent TB infection," Dr. Wooten explained, emphasizing the necessity for early testing and treatment to prevent future outbreaks. Effective treatments are available for curing active TB, and even those with latent infections can keep the condition at bay with appropriate medication.

The information blitz continues as the County encourages anyone seeking more intel on this potential TB exposure to call the County Tuberculosis Control Program. The grand scheme focuses on testing and prevention, with medical providers ready to assess individuals for TB and offer treatment to nip the disease in the bud. In a county where an estimated 175,000 people carry latent TB.