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Doctors screen for tuberculosis

About 150 people in the MIT community are being screened for tuberculosis as a precautionary measure after one student developed an active case of the disease and several friends tested positive.

A positive test means that a person has been exposed to the disease and is carrying the germ, but he or she is not infectious. Nine out of 10 people who test positive do not develop the disease.

There are no known cases of active TB on campus now. The student who had TB was treated with antibiotics and is now healthy and not infectious.

Even though this was the first case of TB on campus in recent memory, Robert M. Randolph, senior associate dean for undergraduate education and student affairs, said, "we are taking this seriously and approaching it aggressively."

The positive results came when the patient's friends were routinely re-examined in January after testing negative in the fall. They are being treated with antibiotics and have little chance of developing the disease.

The residents and staff of Alpha Tau Omega, Burton-Conner House and Next House as well as classmates of the infected student are being tested at the health center. Information sessions are scheduled for all three residential units. Others in the MIT community who would like to be tested may do so on a walk-in basis at the Medical Department.

Persons who test positive will be counseled and offered preventive treatment.

For further information, contact the following members of the MIT medical staff: Dr. David D. Diamond, chair of infection control, x3-7625; Dolores Vidal, RN, coordinator for infection control, x3-8552; Dr. Mark Goldstein, chief of student health, x3-4488; Dr. Arnold Weinberg, medical director and infectious disease specialist, x3-4487. In addition, the Dean's office is prepared to answer broader questions. Contact Dean Margaret Bates or Dean Randolph at x3-4052; Associate Dean Margaret Jablonski or Assistant Dean Neal Dorow at x3-6777, or Associate Dean Leo Osgood at x3-7940.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 5, 1997.

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