Officials Confirm Active TB Case in UNK Student

Cynthia Shultz
associate director of Counseling and Health Care, 308.865.8218

UNK- Officials at the University of Nebraska at Kearney today reported that testing results have confirmed an active case of tuberculosis (TB) in a student who became ill last month.

“The student, who lives in an apartment off campus, has remained in isolation since becoming ill and is doing well,” according to Cynthia Shultz, UNK associate director of Counseling and Health Care. “Faculty have been helpful in allowing him to take his tests and complete his coursework while being in isolation. He will complete two of his classes and has been given incompletes in two other classes.” University students given an ‘incomplete’ for a class have a year to complete the coursework.  

“While we cannot predict how long it will take for the student to reach a full recovery, he is making progress,” Shultz said. Four friends of the ill student have all been screened, and none was found to have active TB, according to Shultz.

As State Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Safranek explained, people have to be in “close, prolonged (four consecutive hours or more in a 24-hour period) contact” during which there are repeated exposures through inhalation. Simply coming in contact with the bacteria is not enough to infect another individual. Risk level is determined by intensity, duration and proximity of contact with someone with active TB.

“Actually, TB is less contagious than measles, mumps, chicken pox or influenza,” Shultz said.