Birkam Health Center has reported a case of Tuberculosis in a Ferris State University student this week.
According to Birkam Health Center officials, the university was informed of the Tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis by a health department in another county. Director of Birkam Health and Counseling Center Dr. Paul Sullivan said he feels the chance of multiple students becoming infected is minor.
“It is very doubtful we will have any other positives from this case,” said Sullivan. “It is not often transmitted within a classroom setting.”
Sullivan said TB is often only transmitted between people who occupy the same home or living space. However, he said he sees a need for students and administration members to be informed.
“I think it’s important for the university community to be notified so they can get treatment if they need it,” Sullivan said.
Both students and faculty members who have come in contact with the individual are being notified and offered free tuberculosis testing beginning April 5, by Birkam Health Center.
Results of the test will be read by Birkam staff April 7. Those tested will also be asked to provide an additional TB skin test within 10 to 12 weeks to ensure no reactions to bacterial exposure.
The American Lung Association reports that tuberculosis is an infectious disease which usually infects the lungs. However the disease can attack any part of the body. TB is spread person to person most often through the air. It can be spread in a variety of ways including coughing, sneezing, laughing, or even talking.
Currently, the identified student is being treated for tuberculosis while completing semester courses online. For information regarding tuberculosis or individual testing, contact Birkham Health Center at (231) 591-2614.