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Confirmed TB case; student testing begins

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Lilly Casolaro

News Editor

Rachel Goodwin

Staff Writer

Dean of Student Services Herbert Reeves and the Alabama Department of Public Health have confirmed that an off-campus Troy University main campus student has contracted pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) and that other students, who may have come in contact with the student, could be at risk.

A free screening and blood test took place on Tuesday, Oct. 24, in Trojan Center Room 224 from 9 a.m. to noon for those identified as being in proximity to the infected student.

Marieka Strickland, a junior information systems major from Auburn, said she received an email that she should be tested for TB.

Strickland said the process for getting tested “was fairly easy,” and she would know the results by Monday, Oct. 30.

Daniel Hilton, a sophomore global business major from Gadsden, said that the blood testing experience was “thorough and quick.”

“It was a cause for concern, (but) I don’t think I was too nervous,” Hilton said.

Pam Barrett, director of the division of TB control for the Alabama Department of Public Health, said the test results will be made available by the end of this week or beginning of next week.

Barrett said the testing is confidential, and if a student tests positive for TB, the student’s test results will not be released to the university.

“The school is working with us in helping us to identify the students who were in contact, but they will not know the test results of anyone who was screened,” Barrett said at a press conference on Thursday, Oct. 19.

“If someone is negative, we do not contact them, but typically if their test comes back positive, we will call them within three to four days after the test is done for a follow-up screening.”

Barrett said the blood test given during this time (a T-SPOT blood test) is “a more accurate test and takes away the false positives that you would often get with the TB skin test.” Unlike the TB skin test required to be taken before coming to Troy University, students do not have to come back to get the blood test read since the blood sample gives a “simple yes or no result.”

A make-up testing day for the TB blood test will be Tuesday, Oct. 31, from noon to 2 p.m. in Trojan Center Room 224, according to Barrett.

“This is something that is serious,” Barrett said. “If you have been notified that you need to be tested, then it is important that you get out here.”

“Individuals who do not receive an email from the school saying that they were a contact do not need to be tested or show up for testing,” Barrett said at the press conference on Thursday.

“Anyone who would like to be screened for their own peace of mind needs to go to their private doctor to have that done because we are limited to only testing those who are at high risk for exposure.”