Local health and university officials are responding to an apparent case of pulmonary tuberculosis at Elizabeth City State University but are being mum about the details.

An ECSU employee apparently has been diagnosed with the highly infectious disease, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is caused by bacteria, spread through the air and attacks the lungs. If not treated properly, tuberculosis can be fatal, the CDC website states.

Kesha Williams, a spokeswoman for ECSU, referred Monday to a statement released by Albemarle Regional Health Services that states the health agency and the university have concluded an investigation into a “possible TB case.”

Jerry Parks, director of ARHS, said his agency has a plan to deal with communicable diseases but he offered few details about the reported TB case at ECSU.

“Rest assured ARHS is well versed in addressing communicable disease investigation and works (in this area) on a routine basis,” he said in an e-mail response to questions.

Parks referred further questions to Jill Jordan, ARHS’ public information officer, who said that because of privacy issues the agency could not release any information about specific cases of disease.

Like Parks, Jordan stressed that ARHS officials fully investigate cases of reported communicable disease and then take measures to ensure “proper diagnosis, treatment and prevention … to those exposed, or potentially exposed.” The agency also works with state officials and local medical providers to ensure “proper control measures (are taken) to reduce the spread of communicable disease,” she said.

Jordan referred other questions to ECSU.

Cases of tuberculosis in Pasquotank County are rare. State data shows that between 2006 and 2010, there was only one reported case every year — except in 2009, when there were no reported cases.

The incidence of the disease nationally is also falling. The CDC estimates the number of TB cases in the U.S. fell from 25,107 in 1993 to 11,182 in 2010 and 10,521 last year. Read More