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A case of tuberculosis in a former employee of a University at Buffalo educational center in downtown Buffalo has led Erie County health officials to test others in the building for exposure to the disease.

Test results show that eight employees at UB's Educational Opportunity Center have a positive status for purified protein derivative, or PPD, meaning they have been exposed to tuberculosis, said county Health Commissioner Dr. Anthony J. Billittier IV.

None of the eight has developed a full-blown case of the disease, Billittier said.

"Nobody had active TB" among the eight individuals tested, he said. "That's where we're at right now. We're monitoring the situation."

The Educational Opportunity Center, a site for educational job training and support services, is at 465 Washington St.

The director of the site, Sherryl D. Weems, did not return phone calls.

Billittier said the county will notify state health officials of the incident, a measure that is required where tuberculosis is concerned.

Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria that can attack any part of the human body, but it usually affects the lungs. It is spread from human to human, mostly through airborne bacteria from coughing or sneezing.

"If there are cases or outbreaks (of tuberculosis), somebody has to know about this," Billittier said. "It gets passed along to the state, and then to the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)." The CDC is a federal agency based in Atlanta.

According to Erie County health officials, last year there were 18 cases of tuberculosis reported in the county. Of that number, 10 were reported in Buffalo, and eight were in other parts of the county.

The number of tuberculosis cases in the county has dropped in the past few years. In 1999 there were 20 cases, and in 1998, 35 cases.

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