Updated Oct. 31, 2022 at 6:40 p.m.
The College announced on Monday that, in collaboration with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, a member of the Dartmouth community with an active case of tuberculosis has been identified. The individual is currently in isolation and receiving medical treatment and support, health service director Mark Reed wrote in an email sent to all students, faculty and staff.
According to Reed, the College is working with state public health officials to identify other individuals who have been exposed to the active case. Over the next few days, he wrote, state health workers will contact any individuals identified as close contacts so that they can be screened.
College spokesperson Diana Lawrence added that contacts will not be required to quarantine.
Reed wrote that only those with active tuberculosis — as opposed to latent tuberculosis, in which the bacterium that causes the disease lives in the body without inducing illness — become sick or able to transmit the disease to others. According to Reed, individuals with active tuberculosis, which can be treated with antibiotics, can spread the disease if they “cough, speak or sing around others”; tuberculosis cannot be spread by actions such as shaking hands or drinking from someone’s glass.
In Jan. 2020, a Dartmouth student tested positive for tuberculosis. In 2021, there were only 7,860 reported cases of active tuberculosis in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a rate of 2.4 persons per 100,000. In New Hampshire, the disease is rare: just 12 active cases were reported in 2020. Risk factors for contracting active tuberculosis include substance abuse or HIV infection.
Reed did not respond to a request for comment by press time.