FAIRBORN — A Wright State University student is being treated for tuberculosis and is expected to make a full recovery, a school spokesperson said Tuesday.
According to Greene County Public Health, there is no outbreak on campus. Just 196 students and some facility members were alerted via email of the confirmed case, following advice from the health district to prevent widespread panic, according to the spokesperson.
The male student — whose name was not released — was enrolled in four classes, and students in those classes were reportedly the individuals who received the email, which contained advice that they should seek testing for the disease. The emails were sent Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. The spokesperson said at least some of those who were notified have sought testing at this point but are still awaiting results.
Laurie Fox, Greene County Public Health public information officer, said there is zero reason for public concern. Fox said although it is an infectious disease, individuals are more likely to contract the flu than they are tuberculosis at this time. Flu symptoms will show themselves within days of contracting the sickness, but tuberculosis symptoms take months to make themselves clear, allowing individuals more time to get tested and take proactive measures.
The state of Ohio confirmed 150 cases of tuberculosis last year, and this one local case is not unusual, according to Fox. She added that Greene County Public Health is working closely with WSU to conduct contact tracking to ensure that those at risk seek appropriate testing.
Tuberculosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis and can be fatal if not treated properly. It usually attacks the lungs but has the ability to impact any part of the body, including the kidneys, brain and spine.
It is spread through the air, which takes place when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. Those nearby are at risk for breathing in the bacteria and becoming infected. It is not spread via shaking hands, kissing, sharing food or drink, sharing bed linens, toothbrushes and/or toilet seats.
Symptoms including a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest area, the feeling of weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever, night sweats and coughing up blood or sputum.
The CDC recommends that individuals who have been exposed to the disease contact their health provider to alert them of when they spent time with the infected person. At that point, health care providers would recommend testing for the disease.