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Student undergoing treatment for tuberculosis

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, a student enrolled during the spring 2015 semester is receiving treatment for tuberculosis. The treatment is not taking place in Alabama. According to ADPH, the student has not been on campus since May 2015, but could have been infectious beginning in January 2015. The student is expected to make a full recovery. TB is not easily transmitted. Students who are exposed to the bacteria may not contract TB. ADPH will directly email individuals who likely came in close contact with the student. According to ADPH, students not enrolled in spring 2015 should not need to be tested. Dr. Albert White, Region III Public Health Officer, and Pam Barrett, director of the division of TB Control, will hold a meeting tonight to answer questions. The conference will take place Monday, August 24, at 6 p.m. in the Ferguson Center room 3311 on the UA campus. An email from the University stated that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Tb is a treatable and preventable airborne disease that is transmitted through the air via coughing and sneezing. “TB is NOT spread by shaking someone’s hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or kissing,” the email said. “You cannot get TB from someone’s clothes, drinking glass, eating utensils or other surfaces where a TB patient has been. There is only a slight risk that individuals who had close contact with the student have been exposed to TB.” Questions should be directed to the ADPH at 334-467-8208. For additional information, visit The Centers for Disease Control or The ADPH website. Update At 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 24, Pam Barrett, director of the division of TB Control with ADPH, and Margaret Garner, director of the UA Student Health Center, held a conference for the media regarding tuberculosis. “It’s usually a productive cough that lasts greater than three weeks along with weight loss, night sweats, chronic fatigue, chest pain, just general weak and tired feeling, and it’s not something that just happens overnight,” Barrett said. She said TB is a progressive disease. People who have contracted the disease often start to feel bad, then get worse. The University of Alabama will begin testing the 160 students and faculty who may have been exposed to TB tomorrow at the Ferguson Center. In addition to those students and faculty, 90 students who may have been exposed are no longer enrolled at UA. All 250 students and faculty who may have been exposed received an email this morning. “If another case were to be found, a second investigation would be conducted around that individual,” Barrett said. Barrett said that 5 to 10 percent of people infected with TB who are not treated will develop active TB. She said a third of the world’s population is infected with TB. According to Barrett, there were 9,412 cases in the United States in 2014, including 133 cases in Alabama. In 2015, there have been 73 cases of tuberculosis in Alabama. Eight of those cases were in the Tuscaloosa area. If an individual is exposed to tuberculosis, the treatment involves one drug daily for six months. If an individual contracts the disease, the treatment involves four drugs over a period of six months. Source: Student undergoing treatment for tuberculosis

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