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Source: Dr. Robert Tackett, 785-532-6544
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Health officials at Kansas State University have contacted and are testing close acquaintances of a student recently diagnosed with active tuberculosis.

"Only those who have had extended close contact in confined spaces while the student was infectious are considered at risk for exposure," said Dr. Robert Tackett, medical director of K-State's Lafene Health Center. "Transmission of tuberculosis from person to person in the general population in the United States is rare."

People who have not been contacted need not worry about having been exposed, he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tuberculosis is spread through the air by coughing, laughing, singing and sneezing. The only way to develop an infection is through prolonged close contact: several hours a day over several days, in a small confined area and in very close proximity to a person who has active disease, Tackett said. Tuberculosis cannot be spread by contact with someone's clothing or eating utensils. Only 5 percent to 10 percent of people who are infected with tuberculosis and have normal immune systems will ever develop tuberculosis disease in their lifetime. In those who develop disease, it happens several months to years after exposure.

Additional information about tuberculosis is available at:

The student with tuberculosis disease is doing well and will recover fully. K-State health officials are working with the Riley County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health And Environment to closely monitor the situation.