The DC Department of Health (DC DOH) has informed us that a residential undergraduate student at American University has tested positive for tuberculosis (TB). The student is currently residing off campus to receive treatment.
TB is a disease that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or otherwise releases the bacteria from their lungs or throat. Prolonged close contact in the same airspace is typically required, and it cannot be spread by surfaces, toilets, clothes, food, water, handshakes, or other casual contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The DC DOH is conducting contact tracing and directly notifying any students, faculty, or staff who may need to be tested. The University is working closely with the DC DOH. In keeping with public health protocols, the DC DOH determines who must be notified or tested based on their level of exposure.
Please know that methods we have used to protect against COVID-19, in particular the high masking compliance that our community has shown, will also be helpful in protecting against tuberculosis exposure.