A student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, CBC News has learned.
University officials sent an email to all students late Friday afternoon, informing them of the "recent" diagnosis.
"The student is a member of the residence community and is currently receiving treatment and recovering well," the email states, without disclosing any other details about the affected student.
The university is now assisting Public Health officials to compile a list of those who may have come into contact with the affected student, including students, professors and staff, according to the email.
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.
'Any and all persons from the university community who require screening will be informed directly by the Public Health Service.' - UNB email to students
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.
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.
"Since TB is not easily transmitted from one person to another and therefore requires very close and prolonged contact, Public Health officials believe that only people who have had close contact with the student might be at risk of being infected," the email to students states.
"Public Health's investigation will involve these close contacts at first and, if transmission is deemed to have occurred, then others who had less contact will subsequently be included in the investigation."
Investigation could take 'many months'
"It is important to note that any and all persons from the university community who require screening will be informed directly by the Public Health Service," the UNB email advises.
Students are being encouraged to ensure the registrar's office has their up-to-date contact information.
Public Health's investigation could take "many months" to complete, according to the email. But the university will provide updates as they become available, it states.
TB claims more than a million lives a year worldwide, but has largely been eradicated in North America.