Tuberculosis case identified at Dartmouth

The infected individual is in isolation and receiving medical treatment and support.

Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College has announced an active tuberculosis case in its community. Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist/The New York Times

New Hampshire health officials have found an active case of tuberculosis at Dartmouth College, according to a letter from the Ivy League school’s health service director. 

Dr. Mark Reed, director of Dartmouth College Health Service, did not say whether the individual is a student or staff member. They are in isolation and receiving medical treatment and support, he wrote. 

The college is working with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to identify anyone who may have been exposed to active tuberculosis, according to Reed. Over the next few days, state health workers will reach out to those contacts so that they can be screened, he said.


Close contacts are not required to quarantine or isolate, college spokesperson Diana Lawrence told in an email.

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria and usually attacks the lungs, though the kidney, spine, or brain can also be affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s spread through the air when a person who has infectious TB in their lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings, according to the CDC.

TB is not spread by shaking hands or drinking from someone’s glass, Reed said. 

Last year, New Hampshire saw 12 reported TB cases, while the U.S. logged 7,860 cases. Worldwide, however, TB is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer behind COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization. According to WHO, a total of 1.6 million people died from the disease in 2021.

Not everyone who gets infected becomes sick; some may have latent TB, meaning they do not fall ill and are not able to spread TB to others, Reed explained. Those with active TB do feel sick and can spread the disease. Both conditions are treatable. 

This isn’t Dartmouth’s first brush with TB in recent years — the college also saw an active case in 2020. 


“We understand this may feel like added stress,” Reed wrote, encouraging students to reach out to the Dartmouth College Health Service with questions and for support.


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