A member of the Dartmouth community has been identified as having an active case of tuberculosis (TB), Dr. Mark Reed, director of the Dartmouth College Health Service, told faculty, staff, and students in an email today. The families of undergraduate students have also received Reed’s email.
“The community member is receiving excellent medical treatment off campus. They will not be returning to Dartmouth until they are medically cleared by the state,” wrote Reed.
“The health and safety of our community is our most important concern and I want to stress that there is no further risk of tuberculosis contagion to the community from this person,” he wrote.
Reed and his staff are working in collaboration with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services (DPHS). In the next few days, DPHS will begin identifying and contacting anyone who was in close contact with the community member and may need to be screened for tuberculosis, Reed wrote. He said the process of contacting people in the community will continue over the next few weeks as the state gathers more information.
New Hampshire Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, who is also a professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, will speak about TB at a forum today and another tomorrow. The events are scheduled for noon today in Collis Common Ground, and tomorrow at 1 p.m. in 105 Dartmouth Hall.
(A video of the Jan. 15 forum can be viewed below.)
Reed wrote that TB is caused by a bacterium that usually impacts the lungs.
“Not everyone infected with TB develops the illness. There are two TB-related conditions: active TB, which our community member has contracted, and latent TB, which is present in the body without making you ill. Approximately 4% of people in the United States and 25% of people worldwide have latent TB,” according to Reed.
He said that patient confidentially laws prevent the College from releasing the affected community member’s name.
“In addition, I ask those of you who are aware of this person’s identity to be respectful of their privacy and not disclose their identity,” he wrote.
Reed said that staff and faculty who have concerns about their health should contact their primary health care provider. Students with health concerns can call the Dartmouth College Health Service at 603-646-9400 or the state public health team at 603-271-4496
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