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UC Berkeley student with active TB being treated

| 20 April 2009

University Health Services recently diagnosed a UC Berkeley student with active tuberculosis (TB). A preliminary diagnosis was made at the student's first visit to UHS, and the student was immediately isolated at the request of clinical staff while confirming testing was conducted.

The student is under treatment and is expected to fully recover and return to regular activities soon.

The City of Berkeley Division of Public Health and UHS officials are now following the standard process of investigating the student's close contacts. City health officials have identified approximately 225 individuals who may have been exposed to TB and those individuals have been contacted and provided information on when, where and how to get tested.

Tuberculosis is a slow-growing bacterial infection that is spread when an individual who has active TB coughs or sneezes. Most infections occur when persons directly inhale TB germs over an extended length of time. Brief or casual contact with an infected person does not spread the disease, according to health officials. Therefore, people who have not been in close contact with an infected person are not at risk of contracting the disease.

The vast majority of people who are exposed to TB bacteria never actually develop the active form of the disease because their body is able to contain the bacteria. This is called "latent TB," which is non-contagious. It is important to identify and test individuals who have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with active TB. Most of these individuals will not have been sufficiently exposed to develop any evidence of exposure. By screening close contacts, clinicians can identify TB infection in its early stages.

University Health Services will continue to work with City of Berkeley health officials to screen all close contacts, students, staff or faculty who were potentially exposed to TB by this individual, and will continue evaluation of any individuals who may have been affected with this event.

For more information about tuberculosis and its prevention and treatment, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.