Local News

Fayetteville Tech students tested for TB

Posted July 13, 2009 10:56 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2009 11:01 a.m. EDT

— Cumberland County public health officials on Monday began notifying dozens of Fayetteville Technical Community College students that they might have been exposed to tuberculosis.

Health department officials said they learned last Thursday that a Fayetteville Tech student was suspected of having TB, and they began investigating the case. Officials identified 58 students and three faculty members who have had "close and prolonged contact" with the student and were advising them to receive a a TB skin case.

“The students and staff at FTCC should not be alarmed," Jane Stevens, interim director of the health department, said in a statement. "At the time a suspected TB case is discovered, it is standard procedure to skin test individuals who may have been exposed. This is not life-threatening nor an emergency. TB generally develops over weeks to months and is completely curable if detected early and treated properly."

TB is an airborne respiratory disease that is transmitted when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes. Exposure does not guarantee infection. A person can contract TB and be symptom-free. These cases, called inactive, are not contagious. Inactive TB can become active at a later date.

The symptoms of TB include a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.

The most common treatment for the illness is a course of antibiotics.

Testing will be conducted this week at the health department office on Fountainhead Lane.

This is the second TB scare in Fayetteville in the past two months. Students and staff at the Highland Learning Center preschool were tested after a substitute teacher tested positive for TB.