A case of tuberculosis has been found on the Ole Miss campus, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
In a news release, the MSDH announced that a case of active TB has been confirmed in a student at the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus. MSDH has been working with officials from the university to identify students and staff who may have been potentially exposed to the active TB case.
The MSDH and the university will initially test approximately 500 individuals for TB infection. The individuals will be notified by a letter with details about the upcoming testing. A second round of testing may be necessary in the next several weeks for those who may have been exposed more recently.
While the TB infection is not contagious and has no symptoms, it can spread in its later stages which is called TB disease. Exposure to active TB disease can result in TB infection. TB disease develops over time if the initial infection goes untreated.
Symptoms of active TB disease include fever, weight loss, night sweats and cough. A course of treatment is recommended for those with TB infection in order to prevent future TB disease.
After the diagnosis, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc said that safety is a top priority and they will work to ensure that the proper procedures are followed.
“The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is a top priority for the University of Mississippi. We will continue to work closely with the Mississippi State Department of Health and appreciate and trust their guidance and assistance to ensure the public health of our community,” Dr, LaBanc said.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers explained that cases of TB are seen every year in the state and sometimes these kinds of investigations in school and university settings are necessary. Dr. Byers wants to ensure that individuals potentially exposed to active TB disease are tested and treated if needed, and said that the treatment of the disease is an activity that the MSDH conducts routinely.