Tuberculosis case at UNB sparks efforts to prevent outbreak

Officials with New Brunswick’s Public Health department and the University of New Brunswick are working to make sure tuberculosis diagnosed in a student living at the Fredericton campus does not spread.

UNB working with department of Public Health to track down anyone close to infected student

Officials with New Brunswick's Public Health department and the University of New Brunswick, are working to make sure a case of tuberculosis diagnosed in a Fredericton student living in residence, does not spread.

The single case of tuberculosis was discovered Jan. 12. 

UNB confirmed the diagnosis in an email to students late Friday afternoon.

Jennifer Russell, Public Health's acting chief medical officer. (Shane Fowler/CBC)
While the student is now undergoing treatment for the disease and is responding well, health officials are taking no chances with the infection spreading says Jennifer Russell, the province's acting chief medical officer of health.

"You'd have to get kind of exposed to a high dose of it over a long period of time. So that's why there is a risk. Can I quantify that risk? I can't really quantify it exactly. I can just tell you that there is a risk and we are taking all the measures that we need to take to make sure that we are minimizing that risk to the folks involved," Russell said.

UNB spokesperson Sonya Gilks says the university is working with the department to try and track down any students, staff, and faculty that were close to the diagnosed student, who may be now carrying the infection.

"They will be contacting those that were in close contact directly. The registrar's office is providing this information to public health, which is why it is very important for students to ensure their information is up to date," said Gilks.

Gilks says the residence where the student was living remains open.