TB testing involving Moncton student encouraging, health officer says

A University of Moncton student diagnosed with tuberculosis in May is responding well to treatment and no one else has tested positive to date, say health officials.

No one else has tested positive and infected University of Moncton student is 'doing very well'

Tuberculosis testing involving a University of Moncton student is nearly complete and so far, no one else has tested positive, public health officials say.

None of the people who came into contact with the infected University of Moncton student have tested positive to date, say health officials.
The student was diagnosed in May, but is believed to have been contagious since mid-March.

Health officials have been testing people who had direct contact with the student during that period and the results have been encouraging, said Dr. Yves Leger, the medical officer of health for the Moncton area.

"With the bulk of the results that we do have to date it definitely leads me to believe that the case was not very contagious," he said.

Leger says there are still a few more people to test, but he hopes to have the investigation wrapped up within the next few weeks.

“It's a very extensive and time consuming follow up to do. As I've mentioned before, there's a lot of time spent with the case to try and identify in as much detail as possible who he or she has been in contact with, where they've been. It requires site visits often times to either institutions, schools, or workplaces, or other settings where the case might have been during their period of contagiousness," he said.

No link to previous case

Meanwhile, the infected student, who was registered for last winter's session, attended classes and wrote exams, is responding well to treatment, he said.

"The individual is doing very well, continues to be on treatment because treatment for tuberculosis will typically go for many months, at least six months, or sometimes more, but they're doing well at this point in time."

TB usually attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, kidneys, lymph nodes and spine. If left untreated, it can lead to death.

 University of Moncton officials revealed in June that the student had been diagnosed a month earlier.

This was the second case of TB at the campus in less than a year, but health officials have confirmed the latest strain does not match the more contagious one from last September.

In that case, a student from the faculty of business, who had only attended four classes for one week before being hospitalized, was diagnosed with laryngeal tuberculosis.

Officials have not said how either student contracted the disease.

TB is caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis and is spread from person to person through the air. When someone with active TB coughs, sneezes, or sometimes even talks, tiny droplets containing TB germs are released into the air, where they can remain for hours.

Symptoms of TB include chronic coughing, in some cases, coughing up blood, fever or night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fatigue. But it could be months or even years before those symptoms present themselves.

TB is treated by taking several drugs for up to one year.

It claims more than a million lives a year worldwide, but has largely been eradicated in North America.

New Brunswick has had an average of six TB cases reported per year since 2005, according to a 2011 report by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.