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Case of TB at Franklin and Marshall College

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ranklin and Marshall College alerted students, faculty and staff  that they learned of a case of tuberculosis infection on campus last Friday. The school is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The infected student is now home and the college believes exposure was limited. Tests will be administered this week to those who may have been exposed.

Below is a copy of the letter sent by the school:

February 21, 2014

Dear F&M Students and Staff:

I write to advise you that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has been made aware of a case of active tuberculosis at F&M. The Department of Health has the responsibility to identify those who have been exposed to TB and make recommendations on their care. The College is cooperating fully with the Department of Health and is providing it with a list of the very small number of students and staff that may have been exposed to the ill person, who has left campus and now is at home.

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which can be spread through the air when an infected person coughs, speaks, sings or sneezes. TB is not spread from casual contact with someone, or from kissing and sharing food and drinks.

Although certainly a matter to which the campus community should be made aware, there is no cause for alarm. Most ofthe time when someone is exposed to TB their immune system protects them and they do not become ill; however, the bacteria may remain dormant. Symptoms of active TB disease include a cough that lasts longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, chest pain, night sweats, fatigue, weakness, nausea, fever, chills and coughing up blood.

The Department of Health will determine who should have a screening test to determine if they were exposed to TB. The screening involves a small amount of fluid being placed under the skin of the arm and then checked 48-72 hours later. Those tests will be administered next week and the results will determine if any further steps and/or treatment are necessary.

If you would like more information, please consult the Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH orwww.health.state.pa.us

Additional information also can be found at the following Centers for Disease Control website: www.cdc.gov/TB