By Andrea K. Walker
5:50 PM EST, December 18, 2012
Officials at the University of Maryland Baltimore County have a sent a letter to students and faculty confirming that someone on campus has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.
The letter did not say if it was a student or faculty member who was infected and if the person contracted the disease on campus or somewhere else. UMBC and Baltimore County health officials, who are also working on the case, declined to give further details about the victim, citing privacy concerns.
Tuberculosis is an airborne disease in the lungs. It can cause a cough, chest pain, bloody mucus, weakness, weight loss, chills, fever and night sweats.
The health services office at UMBC worked with the Baltimore County Department of Health to isolate and treat the infected person. The health department is conducting an investigation to determine how many people may have been exposed. They are also notifying anyone who may have been in contact with the person so they can also be tested.
The letter said that tuberculosis is "difficult to contract through typical campus life" and that infection usually requires "prolonged, sustained, close contact with an infected individual."
Students and faculty should not be concerned about contracting the disease, said Monique Lyle, a spokeswoman with the Baltimore County Department of Health.
"There is a very low potential for risk to the general campus community," she said.
Lyle said it is not known if the person contracted the disease on campus.
"We are not aware of where the person contracted TB," she said.
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