Tuberculosis scare at U.C. Berkeley

BERKELEY, Calif. Health officials Sunday confirmed that a university student was recently diagnosed with TB.

The diagnosis occurred within the past few weeks, but public health officials won't say which student was diagnosed.

The student is currently in isolation.

The /*Berkeley Division of Public Health*/ and the university's health services say they don't know where the student contracted the disease, but they believe people on campus could have been exposed to it as far back as October.

Dr. Anna Bloxhom, the campus health center physician who diagnosed the student, says it is not the diagnosis that is unusual but the number of people that had to be contacted and warned.

The university is asking that all those who received a warning about possibly being exposed to come to the campus health center for a skin test.

Doctors on campus want everyone to know that /*tuberculosis*/ is an infectious disease that can be fatal if not treated.

Health officials say tuberculosis can spread when someone with the disease coughs or sneezes and people in close contact "directly inhale the TB germs over an extended period of time."

Officials say brief or casual contact with an infected person does not normally spread the disease.

According to Dr. Bloxhom, "a third of the world's population is infected with tuberculosis and most of those people never become sick. It is a very slow-moving, slow-growing and actually highly treatable disease."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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