Denver Public Health and MSU Denver open a tuberculosis investigation
Only certain people need precautionary testing.
March 26, 2019
Dear MSU Denver community,
On March 15, Denver Public Health opened an investigation into a potential tuberculosis (TB) exposure at Metropolitan State University of Denver. There is no ongoing risk of TB exposure at MSU Denver. Denver Public Health is working closely with MSU Denver and officials from the Health Center at Auraria to educate faculty and students about TB and to test anyone potentially exposed.
At this time, all faculty, staff and students who are believed to have been potentially exposed have been identified and contacted. IF YOU WERE NOT DIRECTLY CONTACTED BY PHONE FROM DENVER PUBLIC HEALTH OR BY EMAIL FROM THE HEALTH CENTER OF AURARIA, YOU DO NOT NEED TESTING AT THIS TIME. It is safe for students and faculty to report to campus as usual for classes and events.
TB is a disease caused by germs that are spread among people through the air. It usually affects the lungs but may also affect other parts of the body.
- Most people who are exposed to TB do not get infected.
- People who are infected cannot give TB to others unless they are sick with symptoms such as cough, fever or night sweats.
- A person who is infected but is not sick can receive treatment to prevent them from getting sick and spreading TB to family and friends in the future.
Additional facts about TB are available on the Denver Metro Tuberculosis Clinic’s website. People with additional questions can call CO-HELP at 303-389-1687 or contact their primary-care provider.
Robert Belknap, M.D.
Denver Metro Tuberculosis Clinic
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Tuberculosis (TB)
How is TB diagnosed?
TB infection is typically diagnosed by a skin or blood test. Results are available in one to three days. Most people who are infected will not be sick and cannot give TB to others. If a person is sick with symptoms due to TB, a chest X-ray is required, regardless of the blood-test results.
Do my friends, roommates or family members need to get tested?
Testing is needed only for individuals who have been in contact with someone who was sick from TB. If you do not have symptoms of TB, then your friends, roommates or family members do not need to be tested because they spend time with you.
When and how will people get test results?
Generally, test results are available within one to three days. Denver Public Health will contact each person being tested to share results — negative or positive — as quickly as possible.
What if the test is positive?
If a person tests positive, Denver Public Health will contact them for additional evaluation.
Is it safe to come to school?
Yes. There is no reason to be concerned about attending class or school events.
Can a person who has been exposed to TB go to school without having been tested?
People who were exposed to TB and do not have symptoms can go to school. However, they need to get tested for TB as soon as possible. People who were exposed to TB who do have symptoms (coughing, fever or night sweats) should not go to school unless they have already been tested for TB.
How do I know if someone is contagious?
A person with TB can be contagious only if he or she is sick and exhibiting symptoms, such as cough, fever or night sweats. Denver Public Health will evaluate anyone who has symptoms that could be due to TB to determine whether he or she has TB and is potentially contagious.
What are the symptoms of a person sick with TB (also called active TB)?
Some common symptoms of active TB include:
- A cough lasting more than three weeks
- Heavy sweating at night
- Loss of appetite
- Unintended weight loss
- Coughing up blood
- Pain in the chest
- Weakness or fatigue
Where can I learn more about TB?
To speak with someone who can answer your questions, you can call the TB clinic at 303-602-7240 and ask to speak to one of our nurses or outreach staff. You can also refer to the Denver Public Health TB fact sheet. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact your primary-care provider.