NAU student diagnosed with TB
By Gary Collins
Over summer break a student in the intensive English program at NAU was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) – an inflammation of the lungs.
According to a press release issued from NAU, the student, who lived off campus, is currently in isolation at an in-patient facility.
An additional 10 students had been in close contact with the student. All tested negative for TB.
According to Linus Nienstadt of the Coconino County Public Health Services, the student’s life is not threatened.
“[The student] is going to do fine, because TB is treatable,” Nienstadt said. “There are certain antibiotics that treat it.”
While the World Health Organization estimated that were 13.7 million chronic active cases worldwide, Nienstadt stated Coconino County sees only one or two per year.
“It was common, very common worldwide till the antibiotics,” said Kimbal Babcock, clinical services manager of the Coconino County health department.
Both Nienstadt and Babcock stressed even those with extensive contact with a person who is infected have a 20 percent chance of contracting the disease.
TB is spread not by blood, saliva or bodily contact– but requires the inhalation of sputum (not from a sneeze) from the cough of an infected person. Campus Health Services or Coconino Health Department can test for TB in those who have come in to contact with an infected person
“But if you start coughing up blood that’s a warning sign right there, so is rapid weight loss in two weeks or so sometimes,” Nienstadt said. ”These will also be accompanied by night sweats.”
TB is treatable and the student is expected to make a full recovery.