Tuberculosis Scare at ISU

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Updated: 1/15/2013 8:46 pm

        Idaho State University is working with Southeastern Idaho Public Health officials to
notify students who were possibly exposed to tuberculosis. Summer Joy stopped
by ISU’s Health Center to find out the details.

        One person at ISU was diagnosed with Tuberculosis during the fall
of 2012.
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria that attacks the tissues within the body. It can affect your lungs, kidney, spine, or brain. If not treated properly, TB can be fatal.
Tuberculosis  was once the leading cause of death in the United States. 

        Many people have this bacteria, but their body can fight it off. It's when your
immune system is weaker that the mycobacterium gets activated. 

        “Don’t panic, its okay. We have already tested a cluster of people around this
individual who had the closest contact, and none of them had active TB and none
of them are spreading TB. This individual is in isolation and no longer out
coughing their TB off in the world. So there is no way they are going to be
exposed now. This individual is on medications, they were rapidly to stop the contagiousness of TB,” said Dr. Ronald Solbrig, the Director and physician at ISU Student
Health Center.  

        It is uncommon in Idaho and in 2012 only 15 cases were recognized. Don't worry, TB
is very unlikely to be spread through brief, casual contact . 

“The only way it is passed on is air borne. It takes a lot of exposure with TB to
get it, we are talking about hours and hours of exposure, most commonly, to get
enough TB into the next person to make them sick,” added Dr. Solbrig.

        Symptoms for Tuberculosis include: A bad cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks, pain in the chest, fever, chills, or coughing up blood. There is treatment, and most of
time the person can make a full recovery. 
        Idaho State University has identified a small minority of students, staff, and faculty at Idaho State University who may have been exposed. Dr. Solbirg would like us to encourage all ISU students and faculty to check their ISU emails and accounts to see if they were exposed to the virus, but again remember it is very unlikely that you could have contracted it.     

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