Alabama Department of Public Health officials have notified The University of Alabama that a student enrolled on campus during the Spring 2015 semester is receiving treatment in another state for an active case of tuberculosis.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC

ADPH reports that the student, who has not been on the UA campus since May, could have been infectious as early as January 2015, when the student was enrolled at UA. The student is being treated and is expected to make a full recovery. UA is working closely with ADPH to ensure a timely and appropriate response.

“TB is not easily transmitted, and even individuals who are exposed to the bacteria may not get sick,” said Pam Barrett, director of the division of TB Control with the ADPH. “However, out of an abundance of caution, the Alabama Department of Public Health is testing those members of the University community who are believed to have had close contact with the student.”

Close contact is defined generally as spending an extended amount of time with the person in a physically close environment. ADPH is notifying individuals today who are believed to meet this criteria that they need to be tested. Those individuals who test positive will be notified by the ADPH in four days.

TB is a treatable and preventable airborne disease that is spread via coughing or sneezing. It is not spread by shaking someone’s hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or kissing. You cannot get TB from someone’s clothing, drinking glass, eating utensils or other surfaces where a TB patient has been.