Archive for Monday, February 15, 2016

KU confirms case of tuberculosis

Health officials say student, who lives off campus, contracted disease abroad

KU students visit and pass between classes outside of Wescoe Hall and across Jayhawk Boulevard from Strong Hall on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.

KU students visit and pass between classes outside of Wescoe Hall and across Jayhawk Boulevard from Strong Hall on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.

February 15, 2016

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Health officials have confirmed a case of tuberculosis at Kansas University.

A KU student with pulmonary tuberculosis was confirmed and quarantined last week, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has screened other students who potentially were exposed to the disease, said Douglas Dechairo, director and chief of staff at Watkins Health Services.

The student — who contracted the disease in his home country, outside of the United States — currently lives alone off campus, Dechairo said.

“There was limited exposure,” Dechairo said.

The student began therapy right away and will remain quarantined until he tests free of the disease, as monitored by KDHE, Dechairo said. Other students who were potentially exposed will be screened again in eight weeks.

Tuberculosis is only contagious when symptoms are present, Dechairo said. It is spread primarily by its best-known symptom, coughing, he said. Other symptoms may include fever and weight loss.

Dechairo said the last confirmed tuberculosis case at KU was about two years ago. Of about 50 people tested for possible exposure in that case, none developed any symptoms, he said.

KU requires newly enrolled international students to be screened for tuberculosis prior to enrollment, and during orientation they must take a blood test for the disease unless they’ve previously had one performed in the United States within the past year, according to Watkins Health Services policy.

Failure to complete the tuberculosis screening and, if required, treatment processes will result in dis-enrollment, according to the policy.

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