Suspected TB case no longer on campus

The member of the GW community suspected of contracting tuberculosis is no longer on campus and is being treated for the infectious disease.

University officials notified the GW community Tuesday that an individual at the University was suspected of contracting pulmonary tuberculosis, a contagious disease that affects the lungs.

As of Wednesday night, there were no other individuals suspected of contracting the disease, said Dr. Isabel Goldenberg, medical director of the Student Health Service.

“We are assessing the situation, and as of today, we have no knowledge of additional cases,” Goldenberg said. “The TB testing will help us determine this.”

Members of the GW community who were suspected of coming in contact with the infected individual were notified that they were required to undergo testing for the disease, which is being provided free of charge by the D.C. Department of Health. Testing for those notified took place Wednesday, and results of the tests will be available Friday. Another testing day will take place Feb. 22, and results for that test will be available Feb. 24.

The University declined to say how many GW community members required testing due to the incident, saying they want to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those who were notified.

“The entire GW community was informed of this situation, but only a very small percentage of individuals were given specific notification that they may have been in contact with a person suspected of having TB,” Goldenberg said.

Citing privacy concerns, the University declined to provide a timeline of the individual’s contraction of the disease, or say whether the infected individual was a student or University employee, or if he or she lives on campus.

Dena Iverson, a spokeswoman for the D.C. DOH, said about 50 cases of tuberculosis are identified in the District every year.

“The Department of Health is working closely with the University to identify and contact all close contacts of the suspected case so that they can be screened for TB,” Iverson said. “A treatable and curable disease, the department will ensure that in the event a contact requires treatment for TB, they will receive the appropriate care.”

This is not the first time the University has had a case of TB on campus.

Goldenberg said the University saw a case of the disease “several years ago.”

Amy D’Onofrio contributed to this report

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