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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Health officials have confirmed that a Kansas State University student has been identified and diagnosed with infectious pulmonary -- lung -- Tuberculosis Disease. The student is responding to treatment and a full recovery is expected.

K-State officials are working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and involved health departments to identify and evaluate individuals who may have had significant close contact with this student.

"K-State officials are fully cooperating with public health efforts and following best practice guidelines to effectively address this investigation," said Phil Griffin, TB Controller at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"A contact investigation has already begun," said Dr. Robert Tackett, medical director of Lafene Health Center. "People who need to be evaluated will be contacted by local health officials. Recommended testing will be free of charge and consists of a skin test on the arm. In addition, some evaluations include blood tests, chest X-rays and/or sputum collections."

TB is spread through the air by coughing, laughing, singing and sneezing. The only way to develop a tuberculosis infection is by 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. TB cannot be spread by contact with someone's clothing, or eating utensils. Only 5-10 percent of people who are infected with TB and have a normal immune system will ever develop TB disease in their lifetime, Tackett said. Of those who develop disease, it develops at the earliest, months after exposure. However, people with HIV infection or other disorders of the immune system are at much greater risk of developing disease: a 5-10 percent chance per year.

Symptoms of TB Disease include a cough that persists longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, chills, fever, coughing up blood, fatigue, and/or blood in the urine. TB can be treated and cured with appropriate medications.