Health officials in San Diego are raising concerns about a potential tuberculosis exposure. A person who was recently diagnosed with tuberculosis traveled on a charter bus to a bingo event in East County several times earlier this year.
The individual who was diagnosed rode the Sun Charter San Diego North Line to Viejas Bingo at the Viejas Outlet. According to the local 10 News outlet, the times of potential exposure occurred during the afternoon and evening hours from May 10 to May 24, during the evening hours from May 25 to July 26, and during evening hours on Aug. 9 and 18.
While prolonged exposure is needed to develop tuberculosis, country health officials and those working with the charter bus company and bingo facility are actively working to contact everyone who may have come in contact with the diagnosed individual. Officials are asking that those who visited the facility or used the charter bus service during the aforementioned times contact County Public Health or their doctor for TB screening.
According to Wilma Wooten, County public health officer, initial tuberculosis infection usually has no symptoms, so immediate testing is recommended to find a potentially latent infection. With early diagnosis and prompt treatment, infected individuals can protect against tuberculosis’s infectious form. Seniors, along with students, made up 50.2% of the passenger trips provided by the motorcoach industry in 2012. As this demographic is more susceptible to infectious diseases, immediate testing is recommended.
Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began reporting tuberculosis cases in 1953, the number is currently the lowest it has ever been. Despite this positive statistic, the CDC stresses that the United States is still far from being able to eliminate tuberculosis within this century. What officials need most in order to eliminate it is better diagnostic tests, shorter treatments, and new guidelines to help physicians in testing.
All of this cannot be done without proper funding, which has been cut in recent years at the federal, state, and local levels. In 2007, the overall funding at all of these levels in New York State was $34.3 million, but that has since dropped by more than half to $14.7 million.
As the amount of funding drops, the number of cases in New York City is rising. Other states, such as Connecticut, Tennessee, and Colorado, have also seen significant rises in tuberculosis cases, despite the country-wide decrease.