STOCKTON — University of the Pacific confirmed one case of tuberculosis on its Stockton campus.

The person identified is under appropriate medical treatment and will remain off campus until medically cleared, according to a statement issued Wednesday morning by the university.

“The health and safety of everyone at Pacific and the surrounding community are our top priority,” said Dayna Cerruti-Barbero, director of Pacific Health Services.

“There is no need to be alarmed. By now, everyone on the Stockton campus, starting with the people who may have had close contact with the person, has been notified and offered screening for tuberculosis. If an individual has not been notified by the university as having a risk of exposure, there is nothing they need to do.”

Tammy Evans, director of San Joaquin County Public Health Services, agreed, noting that her agency is working closely with Pacific officials after notifying the university that a member of its community had the infection.

“We have several cases of active TB every year in the county. I would say this is no more serious than any other,” Evans said. “Any suspected case, even a positive skin test, it is required that the physician report that to us within one working day.”

Neither she nor a university spokeswoman was able to say when the case was initially discovered and reported to Public Health, which in turn reported it to Pacific.

The university is offering free testing to students, faculty and staff with a risk of exposure. A simple skin test can determine if a person has TB, and TB is easily treated with common antibiotics. The university declined to identify if the patient is a student or staff member, citing health privacy.

“At this point it seems to be contained to just three classes. There is no concern for the general public,” Evans said.

Public Health reported 53 cases of confirmed TB in San Joaquin County in 2017, 42 in 2016 and 58 in 2015, so there is no reason to believe that the lung infection is on the rise, according to Evans.

TB is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, according to the American Lung Association. It usually takes repeated and prolonged exposure in confined spaces for infections to occur. It is spread when a person with active TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, talks or sings.

In its effort to educate the university community, Pacific created and shared a video with students, faculty and staff on how TB is spread and how easily it can be treated.

More information on the disease is available online from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov/tb and the American Lung Association at lung.org.

 

Contact reporter Joe Goldeen at (209) 546-8278 or jgoldeen@recordnet.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/goldeenblog and on Twitter @JoeGoldeen.