HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) will be testing approximately 95 students and faculty at Kapiolani Community College (KCC) and approximately 120 students and faculty at Hawai‘i Pacific University (HPU) for tuberculosis (TB) due to possible exposure from a student who is being treated for active TB disease. Both KCC and HPU are working closely with the DOH Tuberculosis Control Program and both colleges are notifying all students, faculty, and staff to inform them of the situation. The TB testing will take place on campus this week at Kapiolani Community College and the week of April 2 at Hawai‘i Pacific University.
The student with tuberculosis is not in school, and doing well under treatment at our clinic, said Dr. Richard Brostrom, Chief of the DOH Tuberculosis Control Branch ”Tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor contact to spread to others, so the department will be testing students and faculty who shared the same classroom with the ill student. The school screening represents an extra measure of safety for the individuals, their families, and the community.”
TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and is spread from person to person through the air. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person breathes in these drops there is a chance that they will become infected with TB. TB may not cause a problem for many years after exposure. Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:
- Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
- Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the disease to other people.
For more information on tuberculosis or TB testing, the public may call the DOH Hawai‘i Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit the following websites: