UPDATE: 300 students potentially exposed to tuberculosis

Liz Butterfield
Online News Editor

Approximately 300 students may have been exposed to tuberculosis, according to an alert posted on the VCU website today.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease spread from person-to-person through the air. VCU reports the level of exposure is considered “insignificant” for students. The university will offer screenings to the at-risk students through university health services, according to the alert.

“VCU is working with local and state public health officials — and in concert with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines — for investigation of persons potentially exposed to TB,” today’s alert said. “Only those people who received notification need to be concerned about screening.”

A VCU student with the disease potentially exposed other students during classes, said director of student health Margaret Roberson, M.D. Roberson said VCU learned of the exposure “fairly recently” and worked with the Virginia Department of Health to create a list of exposed students and faculty who were potentially exposed.

“(Tuberculosis) is a bacteria that is spread by people coughing or sneezing,” Roberson said. “It’s not shared by casual contact … and most people when you get exposed to the bacteria your immune system will actually take that bacteria and wall it off.”

Roberson said students who are affected by immune suppression disorders are at risk for the disease.

Roberson is visiting four classrooms with Donald Stern, M.D., Richmond City Health District director, to inform faculty and students about their potential exposure to the disease.

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