The City of Houston Health Department recently informed the University of Houston that an individual on this campus is being evaluated and treated for tuberculosis (TB). The person is undergoing medical treatment away from campus and is no longer a health risk to others. The UH campus community was notified of the case in an email sent to faculty, staff and students on April 23, 2019.
How many other cases have been reported on campus as a result of this exposure?
We have not identified any other individuals on our campus with symptoms of TB at this time.
An unrelated case of TB was reported in October 2018. The Health Department has since completed that investigation.
What is being done?
The University is following the protocols outlined by the Houston Health Department for handling a TB case. We trust the expertise and guidance of HHD as we take appropriate precautions to ensure the public health of our community. HHD is conducting a contact investigation to identify, test and treat individuals who may have been exposed.
If you are identified as someone who needs to be tested, a separate letter will be sent to you with the date, time and location for testing. Individuals who do not receive the notification are considered not to be at risk for infection.
Public Forums April 29-30, 2019
Houston Health Department officials will be on campus on to give a presentation for faculty, students and staff about tuberculosis and to answer any questions you might have.
What: TB Presentations for UH Community
When: Monday, April 29, 10–11 a.m. and Tuesday, April 30, 11 a.m. – noon
Where: Multipurpose Room West - Student Center South
Learn More About TB (Source: CDC)
What is TB
“TB” is short for a disease called tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that can be contagious if it becomes an active disease; however, it is a difficult disease to catch because it is only spread through the air in close proximity when favorable environmental conditions exist.
What is the Difference Between Latent TB Infection and TB Disease?
People with latent TB infection have TB germs in their bodies, but they are not sick because the germs are not active. These people do not have symptoms of TB disease, and they cannot spread the germs to others. However, they may develop TB disease in the future. They are often prescribed treatment to prevent them from developing TB disease.
People with TB disease are sick from TB germs that are active, meaning that they are multiplying and destroying tissue in their body. They usually have symptoms of TB disease. People with TB disease of the lungs or throat are capable of spreading germs to others. They are prescribed drugs that can treat TB disease.
How is TB transmitted?
The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. These germs can stay in the air for several hours, depending on the environment. Persons who breathe in the air containing these TB germs can become infected; this is called latent TB infection.
- Casual contact is generally not sufficient for transmission of the TB bacteria.
- TB is rarely spread to persons who spend brief amounts of time together— it requires extensive direct contact with a contagious person who has active TB disease.
- You cannot get TB from someone’s clothes, drinking glass, eating utensils, handshake, toilet, or other surfaces where a TB patient has been.
What are the symptoms of TB?
The general symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood.
Can TB be treated?
TB disease can be treated by taking several drugs for several months, generally 6 to 12 months.