A few faculty members have become concerned after a student in a summer English class was diagnosed with Tuberculosis.English professor Lee Reinhartsen said that one of his colleagues was visited last week at her home by an official from the Los Angeles County department of health.
The county Health Department informed the instructor that a student, in her summer class had tested positive for Tuberculosis.
She was immediately tested for the disease, which she had been exposed to, but tested negative.
The Health Department also notified the PCC faculty member that there were a number of active TB cases in the student body.
“Once a semester we might have a TB case. Not necessarily every semester,” said Jo Buczko Coordinator of PCC Health Services. “We were informed by Pasadena’s Public Health Department in the fall that there was only a case in the summer semester.”
“We questioned the administration about it,” said Reinhartsen, who also teaches English as Second Language. “We asked why [the faculty] is forced to have TB tests, but not the students. Our students come from all around the world and [in] some areas they come from, TB is prevalent.”
“We encourage students to have a TB test,” said Buczko. “We don’t mandate testing them because it would mean testing over 8,000 students every semester.”
TB is a bacterial disease that is spread from person to person through the air when it becomes an active disease. The germs can be spread by coughing and sneezing.
Symptoms of TB include fever, fatigue, night sweats, loss of appetite weight loss and cough, explained Buczko.
“We do routinely test those students going into areas where their at risk, such as childcare program, people coming from countries which have endemic problems like the pacific realm countries, South America and Africa,” said Buczko.
Health services provide free TB testing to all currently enrolled students.
“It may be distressing to a faculty member that a public health official visited their friend, but you have to look at the flip side of that,” added Buczko.
“They didn’t fall through the cracks, they identified who the person was and went out and did the testing because they knew it was important to give them the necessary information.
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