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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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DOH: TB case limited to one individual

No additional community members tested positive for tuberculosis, after a now-confirmed case of the disease prompted testing of some students, faculty and staff over the past 2 weeks.

The University and the D.C. Department of Health notified the GW community of a suspected case of pulmonary tuberculosis Feb. 15, and has since confirmed the individual had TB.

Though some tests of other individuals at the University are still pending, D.C. Department of Health spokeswoman Dena Iverson said Friday that no additional cases of TB – a contagious disease that affects the lungs – have been identified.

All those who came in contact with the individual infected with TB must be retested in 8 weeks.

“The investigation is ongoing and while a substantial number of potential contacts have been tested, the Department of Health continues to reach out to others,” Iverson said.

She said despite the case’s confirmation as TB, the DOH isn’t changing how it pursues the investigation.

“The procedures are the same as we always pursue a TB suspect as if it is a confirmed case until proven otherwise,” Iverson said.

As of last week, the person who was suspected of contracting TB was no longer on campus and was being treated.

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.

Dr. Isabel Goldenberg, medical director of the Student Health Service, said her group is continuing to work with DOH “to test identified members of the GW community who may have had close contact with the individual. All other information is confidential.”

The University declined to disclose the number of students, faculty and staff who were instructed to get tested because they came in contact with the individual with TB.

One of the students told to get tested said he felt “in the dark” when it came to getting information about the case.

“I wish the University would’ve given us more information,” the student, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

The student said he wasn’t told how he could have come in contact with the disease.

The student’s TB test was negative, but he said he was told to be retested in 8 weeks to ensure the TB wasn’t dormant in the first test.

Iverson said about 50 cases of TB are identified in the District every year, and Goldenberg said GW had a case of TB on campus “several years ago.”

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