The University of New Brunswick has learned that a student on its Fredericton campus has recently been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB).
The University is cooperating with Fredericton’s Public Health Office in their investigation and management of this case. We are assisting Public Health in establishing a list of those who could have potentially been in contact with the affected person, including students, professors and some staff. The student is a member of the residence community and is currently receiving treatment and recovering well.
According to Health Canada, most people who are exposed to TB bacteria do not develop TB disease. In some cases, the person’s immune system is able to kill the TB germs. When this doesn’t happen, the bacteria can remain alive but inactive in the body, and this is called TB infection. A person with TB infection has no symptoms, is not sick and poses no risk of spreading the bacteria. TB infection may become TB disease if the infected person’s immune system cannot stop the TB bacteria from growing. Treating TB infection with antibiotics helps the immune system fight the TB bacteria and prevents the development of TB disease.
At this time, we would remind our UNB community of the importance of keeping your contact information updated, should Public Health need to reach you. Public Health will only contact those individuals who require screening. Public Health have advised that their investigation can take a considerable amount of time, and may take many months to complete.
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. 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. It is important to note that any and all persons from the university community who require screening will be informed directly by Public Health.
UNB is committed to keeping our community informed, and as such, will be providing updates as they become available.
Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to contact Public Health’s communicable diseases office at 506-444-5905 during working hours, or Telecare (811) after hours. The UNB community may also contact UNB Student Health Centre at 506-453-4837.
More information on TB is also available at:
- University of New Brunswick: Sonya Gilks
- Department of Health: Bruce MacFarlane, communciations, department of health; (506) 453-4583; firstname.lastname@example.org