Local, State Health Departments investigating active tuberculosis case at ECU

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ADA, Okla. (KXII) - The local and state health department are investigating a tuberculosis case that involves a student who attended East Central University this past semester.

According to the Centers for Disease Control Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is caused by a bacteria.

The bacteria usually attacks the lungs which can cause symptoms like a bad cough that lasts for weeks.

"That's the part that we worry about in public health," Mendy Spohn said.

Mendy Spohn is the Regional Director of the Pontotoc County Health Department.

"We do public health communal diseases all the time," Spohn said. "This is a regular investigation, it just happens to be an exposure on a college campus which makes the contacts a lot larger."

Spohn says they've been working with the university to identify students who may have came in contact with the infected person.

Those at risk of exposure received a letter.

"Anybody else who did not receive direct contact from the school or health department really is at very low risk of exposure and shouldn't worry," Spohn said.

Spohn says they'll be performing skin tests on people who were notified.

"If you have a positive skin test that does not mean that you have tuberculosis disease and can spread it to others," Spohn said. "It just means you've had exposure to that."

She says they'll follow up with the students who test positive with a medical evaluation and chest x-ray to see if the bacteria is active.

As of now, Spohn says no other active cases are being investigated at the campus.

Spohn says health department officials will be on campus Tuesday to test those students that received that letter.

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