Possible Tuberculosis Case Involving Student
Public health officials have advised Cal Poly Pomona that a student might have become infected with tuberculosis (TB).
While it has not been confirmed that the student has an active case, the university recommends that those who have had close contact with the student get a TB skin test.
Due to privacy concerns, the student’s identity will not be released. However, Cal Poly Pomona health officials have identified approximately 375 students and 20 faculty and staff who might have had repeated contact with the student. Separate email notifications were sent to these individuals by 10 a.m. Friday. Students can receive free TB testing through Student Health Services. Priority will be given to those who are contacted directly. Faculty and staff can receive testing through their regular health care provider.
The student did not live on campus. He attended classes in physics, engineering, computer science, and ethnic and women’s studies during the fall and winter quarters. He has withdrawn from his classes this quarter and is receiving treatment. His prognosis is good at this time.
Learn more about tuberculosis by reading the following Q&A. For more information, call Student Health Services at (909) 869-4000.
What You Should Know About Tuberculosis
Q: What is TB?
A: TB, or tuberculosis, is a serious infectious disease that usually affects the lungs, but can attack any part of the body, including the internal organs and the spine.
Q: How is it spread?
A: If you have TB, you can infect others by speaking, coughing, laughing, singing or sneezing. Tiny droplets with TB germs are dispersed into the air and can be inhaled by others. It is NOT spread by shaking hands, sharing food or drink, contact with bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or kissing.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: The symptoms of TB can include:
- A bad cough lasting three weeks or more
- Chest pains
- Coughing up blood or sputum
- Weakness or fatigue
- Weight loss
- No appetite
- Night sweats
It is important to note that people can carry the TB germs without getting sick or exhibiting symptoms. This is called “latent TB,” which is not contagious. But latent TB can become active. Therefore, people with latent TB should still seek treatment.
Q: Who was likely exposed?A: Separate email notifications were sent by 10 a.m. Friday to those who had classes with the infected student. However, free testing is also available at Student Health Services for other students who are concerned that they might have been exposed, even if they have not been contacted by the university.
Q: How can I find out if I have TB?
A: The most commonly used tool for TB is a skin test. A small needle is used to inject a substance call tuberculin under the skin of your forearm. If you develop a hard, raised red bump within three days, you are likely to have TB. Doctors may also give you a chest X-ray or test samples of your blood or sputum to confirm whether you have TB.
Q: Where can I go to get tested?
A: Students can go to Student Health Services in Building 46 to be tested. Priority will be given to those who are contacted directly. Faculty and staff should contact their regular health care providers.
Q: How much does it cost and what do I have to do to prepare?
A: The test is free for students. Be prepared to talk about:
- your symptoms and when they started
- whether you have ever had TB or a positive skin test
- if you have other health problems and what medications and supplements you take on a regular basis
- if you were vaccinated against TB as an infant or ever taken medicine for TB.
Q: How common is TB?
A: There were 10,528 TB cases in the United States in 2011, the lowest figure since national reporting began in 1953, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of reported TB cases nationwide has steadily declined since 1992.
Q: Who is most at risk?
A: People who are most at risk for developing TB disease include those who are:
- HIV positive
- Abusers of alcohol or illegal drugs
- Diabetic or have another health problem that make it difficult to fight the TB germs
- Recently infected TB germs or were not properly treated for TB infection in the past.
Q: Where can I go to find more information about TB?
Q: Who can I contact at Cal Poly Pomona if I have more questions?
A: If you are a student, contact Student Health Services at (909) 869-4000. If you are an employee, contact Risk Management at (909) 869-4846.