The Board of Supervisors Tuesday directed the Riverside County Department of Public Health to accept and administer a $372,686 state grant intended for programs to prevent and contain tuberculosis.

In a 5-0 vote without comment, the board authorized use of the entire allotment of the California Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Prevention & Control grant.

“Education and treatment of individuals with tuberculosis is essential to prevent progression of the person’s disease,” according to a county public health statement posted to the board’s agenda. “Treatment of communicable diseases helps the individual, as well as protecting the community. Individuals who are contagious are excluded from work and school to protect other people. Once they are no longer infectious, they are allowed to return to work or school.”

According to CDPH data, there were 350 TB cases in Riverside County from the start of 2015 to the end of 2020.

Some of those cases involved school-age children and resulted in TB screenings for numerous students and employees of multiple K-12 campuses as a precaution.

No infection-related deaths were documented in that period.

The grant will be used to support public health nurses engaged in preventing and managing TB cases, as well as to pay for treatment regimens, isolation expenses and for transportation and food that patients might need while undergoing treatment.

Tuberculosis is spread through coughing, sneezing, singing or speaking. People cannot be infected through hand-shaking, kissing or handling bedding and toilet seats, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials noted that some people may be infected with TB without displaying symptoms, which include fever, coughing, night sweats and chest pain. Those with inactive TB are generally not infectious.

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