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Tuberculosis Case Reported at UMBC

An email was sent out to the university community on Wednesday.

A person at UMBC is suspected of having tuberculosis, according to a letter sent to the campus community.

School health officials are working with the Baltimore County Department of Health to obtain for further testing for the person, who is isolated, according to Director of University Health Services Jennifer Lepus.

University officials did not confirm whether the person was a student, citing health privacy laws.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that causes coughing, chest pain, bloody sputum, weakness, weight loss, chills, fever and night sweats.

University officials sent a letter to the campus community Wednesday about the infected person.

Although the infection is contagious, it is highly unlikely the general student population is at risk for contracting it, Lepus said.

"It is a respiratory illness that requires prolonged, sustained, close contact with an infected individual [to be contagious]. It is important that campus members be aware of the very low potential for risk or danger to the health of any member of the community," she said.

In recent years, two tuberculosis cases were reported at Towson University in 2007. In 2010 the number of reported cases of tuberculosis was down, according to the CDC. There were more than 11,182 reported cases nationally, which is 3.6 cases per 100,000 people).

In Baltimore County in 2010, there were 28 cases reported, compared to 24 in 2009. In Maryland there were 220 cases in 2010, compared to 218 in 2009, according to data from the Maryland Department of Health and Mential Hygiene.

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