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7.5.2021

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is contacting students and staff who may have been exposed to a student with infectious tuberculosis (TB) disease at the University of Auckland.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Shanika Perera says ARPHS was recently notified of a student with infectious TB, and is now following a well-established process for managing the risk of further infection.

ARPHS staff have emailed students and staff who have taken or taught three courses; MEDSCI203, MEDSCI205 and CHEM390. This explains that their overall risk of being infected is low.

“TB is not easy to spread as it requires a prolonged exposure to transmit this disease. It is slow to develop and can be cured,” Dr Perera says.

Fewer than 10 students have been identified as needing follow-up as they had closer or longer contact with the student. ARPHS has offered further testing to these students to see if they have TB infection.

“Symptoms of TB to watch out for include a persistent cough for more than three weeks, sometimes with blood in the sputum, unexplained weight loss, sweating - especially at night - unexplained fever, feeling tired all the time and shortness of breath,” Dr Perera says.

Students who are concerned that they may have symptoms of active TB disease should contact their GP or the Student Health Services at the University.

For more information on TB, see the ARPHS website at https://www.arphs.health.nz/public-health-topics/disease-and-illness/tuberculosis-tb/

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