Public health contacting students and staff over TB fears at University of Auckland after possible exposure

Auckland public health is contacting University of Auckland students and staff who may have been exposed to tuberculosis (TB) after attending classes alongside a student with the infection.

Auckland Regional Public Health Services (ARPHS) said the overall risk of being infected was low and those who may have been exposed to the infection were being contacted.

ARPHS had emailed students and staff who had taken or taught classes for three courses the student attended: MEDSCI203, MEDSCI205 and CHEM390.

Fewer than 10 students had been identified as needing a follow-up because they had closer or longer contact with the student.

Further testing had been offered to these students to see if they had been infected with TB.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Shanika Perera said ARPHS was following a well-established process for managing the risk of further infection.

“TB is not easy to spread as it requires prolonged exposure to transmit this disease. It is slow to develop and can be cured.

“Symptoms of TB to watch out for include a persistent cough for more than three weeks, sometimes with blood in the sputum, unexplained weight loss, sweating – especially at night – unexplained fever, feeling tired all the time and shortness of breath,” Perera said.

Students who were concerned that they could have symptoms of the disease should contact their GP or the Student Health Services at the University.

More information on TB can be found on the ARPHS website.

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