Western Kentucky University

Media Relations

Health Department identifies suspected case of tuberculosis in WKU student

The Barren River District Health Department has identified a suspected case of tuberculosis in a WKU student. The student is a graduate student who does not live on campus and is currently receiving medical treatment.

The Health Department has begun an investigation and is working closely with University officials to determine who may have had close contact with the student and should be tested.

“Only people with prolonged close contact with the suspected case are at risk,” said Teresa Casey, Nurse Program Manager for Barren River District Health Department. “During the investigation the Health Department will contact persons determined to be close contacts and provide recommendations for testing.  If you are not contacted by the Health Department and told you need to be tested, there is no need for further concern at this time.”

WKU Health Services will provide testing at no cost to the individual for those identified by Health Department officials as close contacts who should be tested.

“We are certainly taking this seriously, but this is not an emergency situation,” Vicky Rosa, Director of WKU Health Services, said. “It is standard to proceed with testing in a suspected case of TB, and we are working to provide the testing on campus for easier access to those who may have been exposed.”

TB is a bacterial infection caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis.   The bacterium usually affects the lungs, but TB bacteria can affect other parts of the body as well.  TB is spread through the air from one person to another.  A skin test is used to test for presence of TB.

Additional information about TB and TB testing may be found on the WKU Health Services website and the Centers for Disease Control website. Individuals may also call the Barren River District Health Department at (270) 781-8039, ext. 126, or WKU Health Services at (270) 745-5641, option 4.

Contact: Vicky Rosa, WKU Health Services, (270) 745-5641; Crissy Rowland at the Barren River District Health Department, (270) 202-7426; or Bob Skipper, WKU Media Relations, (270) 745-4295.

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 Last Modified 7/23/13