Salisbury University issues alert about student with TB

SALISBURY — Salisbury University and the Wicomico County Health Department are collaborating on preventive health measures following diagnosis of tuberculosis in an SU student.

The student is currently under medical care and is no longer attending classes.  “There is no risk of additional exposure to SU students, faculty or staff,” according to Lori Brewster, Wicomico County Health Officer, “and the risk of infection from previous exposure to the student affected is small.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tuberculosis is difficult to contract. “It usually takes at least eight hours of close proximity in a small room for TB transmission to possibly occur, and the air space is only contagious when the untreated patient is actually present,” Brewster said.  “A healthy person cannot be infected from casual exposure such as walking through the halls or eating in the same room as the affected person.”

The WiCHD has begun reaching out to those who may have had closer contact, including classmates. They will be offered the opportunity for TB testing.  The tuberculin test is being done simply as a precaution to ensure no others were infected before the affected student began treatment. (Please note that a positive skin test result DOES NOT mean a person has active tuberculosis. It simply means that at some time in the past, he or she may have been exposed to the tuberculosis germ.)

Students and faculty are receiving information about tuberculosis, including links to the CDC. Maryland TB Control officials are assisting the WiCHD in carefully monitoring the situation to ensure all necessary steps are taken to protect the health of students, faculty and staff.  For more information call the WiCHD at 410-543-6943 or Student Health Services at 410-543-6262.

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