American Lung Association Responds to Confirmed Case of Tuberculosis at University Campus
Tuberculosis is treatable, getting tested and seeking treatment key to prevent spread of this potentially fatal disease
(December 6, 2018) - CHICAGO
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The University of the Pacific has confirmed one case of tuberculosis on its Stockton campus in California. In response, American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., FACP, FACCP, released the following statement:
“The recent diagnosis of tuberculosis on a college campus in California has drawn attention to a very serious disease that should not be taken lightly. Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it is an infectious disease that usually attacks the lungs but can infect almost any part of the body. Tuberculosis is spread from person to person through the air. If another person breathes in these germs, there is a chance that they will become infected with tuberculosis. However, it is not easy to become infected with tuberculosis. Usually a person has to be close to someone with active TB disease (household contacts, roommates, etc.) over an extended period of time, but anyone who has had known contact with a sick individual with TB should discuss their risks of infection with their healthcare provider.
“If it is not treated, TB can be fatal. But TB can almost always be treated and cured if you take medicine as directed by your healthcare provider. Once you begin treatment, within weeks you will no longer be contagious.
“Not everyone who is infected with the TB germ develops TB disease. TB infection can remain dormant or latent for years or even a person’s whole life. Some people are at a greater risk of a TB infection becoming active TB disease, including infants and young children, older adults, those with a weakened immune system, (including those on immune suppressing medications related to treatment for their cancer or inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis), and those who were recently exposed to an active case of TB, especially within two years of that exposure.
“Americans should listen to public health officials and seek immediate medical attention from their healthcare provider if they show symptoms of the disease, including a persistent cough, constant fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite, fever, coughing up blood and night sweats. This is even more important if you suspect that you have been exposed to an individual with active TB.”
For more information regarding tuberculosis or other lung health questions, visit Lung.org or call the tollfree American Lung Association Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNG-USA). For members of the media seeking to schedule an interview with a lung health expert about tuberculosis and the Lung Association’s work in combatting this deadly disease, contact Allison MacMunn at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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