Case of active tuberculosis reported

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Mississippi State Department of Health recently reported a confirmed case of active tuberculosis.

A release from MSDH states that symptoms were confirmed in a student at the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tuberculosis is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis that primarily affects the lungs.

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Jeff R. Buntin, a nurse practitioner at Highland Community Hospital said the bacteria associated with tuberculosis is usually spread through the air from one person to another, either through a cough or sneeze.

Buntin said some common symptoms of tuberculosis include a cough that has lasted for more than three weeks combined with fever, night sweat and fatigue.

Other symptoms listed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention include weight loss, lack of appetite, chest pain and in some cases coughing up blood or sputum.

Buntin said there are two types of tuberculosis generally reported. A latent TB infection is not highly infectious, typically infecting only 5 to 10 percent of people exposed.

Active TB, as confirmed in the student at the University of Mississippi, is contagious and can easily infect others, he said.

The MSDH is now working with officials at the University of Mississippi to conduct tests on about 500 individuals to check for TB, the release states.

Buntin said the likelihood of the infection spreading increases in closed areas where someone already has TB. Individuals with a low or compromised immune system are at higher risk of contracting the disease, he said.

Over the past year approximately 9,000 cases of tuberculosis have been reported, but if treated, fatalities can be prevented, Buntin said.