More cases of tuberculosis discovered in Auburn Univ. students - FOX Carolina 21

8 test positive for latent, non-contagious tuberculosis at Auburn Univ.

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(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Just a few weeks ago, Auburn University discovered a student had a contagious form of tuberculosis.

Now after testing those at risk, more people have been discovered to be carrying the germ that causes the disease.

The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed on Wednesday that eight people at Auburn have tested positive for a latent, non-contagious tuberculosis infection.

The testing was done after a graduate student was found to have active TB earlier this month.

Campus health officials say the disease is not that common.

"It really depends on the population you're dealing with," said Dr. Frederick Cam, medical director of the Auburn University clinic. "It's not that common. In my 17 years here, this is the second case that we've had but we've had both of those cases within the last two years."

The disease could be spread as a bad side effect from students trying to do some good.

"After returning from these mission trips, and other places, some people may want to go ahead and get screened to make sure they weren't exposed and/or infected with the TB germ while they were abroad," Cam said.

Another source of the infection could be students from other countries. While the university tests them once they are admitted, they do not re-screen them even if the student visits their home county during breaks.

"To be honest, we do not retest those individuals once they've gone through the initial screening to enter," Cam said. "You know, I hate to say it but we probably leave it up to them to voluntarily to get tested if they're in an area where the rate of TB is high."

Dr. Cam says once the screening process is complete, officials will sit down and discuss any policy changes that could be implemented to prevent this from happening again.

To be safe, the university will be re-screening those who tested negative for TB in October.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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