Two Cases of Tuberculosis Reported

Potential for transmitting infection is low

Two Duke graduate students have been diagnosed with separate and isolated cases of tuberculosis (TB), but medical officials say that both represent a low risk for transmitting the infection. 


"In both cases, their histories suggest that there was only a 1 to 3 percent risk for communicating the infection," said Carol Epling, MD, director of Employee Occupational Health and Wellness. "Duke is contacting those who came into close contact with the two students to come in for testing, to rule out the potential of infection." 


The graduates students are receiving appropriate care and are no longer a risk for transmitting the infection.  


TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. Most people who become infected do not become sick or contagious to others.


Symptoms of active TB include a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, fever, pain in the chest, and coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs).  


Anyone with questions or who believe they have been exposed should contact Student Health Services or Employee Occupational Health and Wellness