Two new unrelated cases of active tuberculosis that may have exposed others have been reported locally at Sweetwater High School and Serra High School, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC

The possible exposure to TB at Sweetwater High School occurred between July 20 and Oct. 25. The school is located at 2900 Highland Avenue, San Diego.  HHSA is working with school officials to notify individuals that may have been exposed and is offering no cost testing to students and staff on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Sweetwater High School.

HHSA is also working with Serra High School officials to notify individuals who potentially may have been exposed between Aug. 29 and Nov. 7. Testing for those students will take place on Monday, Dec. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the school, 5156 Santo Road, San Diego.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

There have been 182 TB cases reported to date in 2016. There were 234 cases reported in San Diego County in 2015.