Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) officials notified Auburn University Wednesday of plans to investigate a case of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) identified in a student enrolled on the Auburn campus. ADPH and Auburn University are working closely to ensure that university students and employees will be screened quickly.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC

The state and local health departments are communicating regularly with Auburn University to keep its faculty, administration and students updated on this ongoing process.

Dr. Burnestine Taylor, Medical Officer, Disease Control and Prevention, stated, “We are working very closely with the university to develop and implement a screening plan. As with any identified case of TB in Alabama, ADPH will implement precautionary testing, investigation and control measures.”

On May 9, ADPH and university officials began identifying students enrolled in classes, as well as faculty and staff, who might have been in close contact with the student. According to ADPH, “close contact” is defined generally as spending an extended amount of time with the subject in a physically close environment. Those who were in contact with the individual have been notified and testing begins Thursday, May 17.

TB is a treatable and preventable disease. Persons who were in close contact with the suspect case will be rapidly assessed and appropriate preventive measures taken, according to ADPH officials. The Health Department recommends that only those who were in close contact with the student need to be tested.