8 have noncontagious TB at Oak Park campus

Eight people at the Sacramento campus of the University of the Pacific have a latent version of tuberculosis that is not contagious, based on tests after one student was diagnosed earlier with active TB, Sacramento County health officials said Friday.

None of the 78 students and staff showed symptoms of active tuberculosis, the serious form of the disease that attacks the lungs and can be fatal.

The eight who had latent TB exposure will undergo further screening to rule out active tuberculosis, said Laura McCasland, spokeswoman for the Sacramento County health department. They are being treated with antibiotics and can return to the classroom.

UOP officials sent letters to 125 students, faculty and staff at the Sacramento campus on Feb. 12, asking them to undergo testing after a student was diagnosed with active tuberculosis.

The Oak Park campus is primarily known for housing the McGeorge School of Law. It also operates a master’s of business administration and doctorate of education program. The university and county officials wouldn’t say which program the student with active TB attended.

Students and staff who shared a classroom or had prolonged exposure to the patient were asked to be tested, McCasland said.

Tuberculosis is spread through the air when someone sneezes, coughs, speaks or sings. Symptoms of the disease include a cough that lasts more than three weeks, chest pain, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss. A person who has had TB a long time might also cough up blood.

The risk of infection depends on a number of factors, including proximity and duration of exposure.

The health department will hold a second screening in eight to 10 weeks, as there is often a delay from the time a person is exposed to tuberculosis to the time the test becomes positive, McCasland said. Students who came in Monday can be retested, as can students who received a letter and did not come in for testing. The time and date have yet to be announced.

The student diagnosed with active tuberculosis is being treated by the county health department and is doing well, said Claudia Morain, spokeswoman for the University of the Pacific.

For questions about tuberculosis, call the county health department at 916-875-5881.

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert