Southern reacts to TB test results

Parker Willis & Rebecca Watts

With the change of seasons brings runny noses, sneezing and coughing, unfortunately Missouri Southern is experiencing something more than the common cold.

An email was sent Oct. 17 from Rod Surber, director of public information, informing the Southern campus community a student tested positive for tuberculosis.

“Whether because of a class, dorm or organization affiliation, there were between 250 and 300 people that should have been tested. We tested about 142,” said Jan Dipley, director of Health Services. “Only 11 didn’t show back up and five of those 11 went to city health to be looked at. We still have some people from the contact list coming in to get tested.”

Dipley said the city and state health departments want Southern to only check people who had direct contact, otherwise a campus-wide number of positives will effect the numbers. The health department needs students who were not in direct contact to wait to be tested, and in the meantime students have nothing to worry about.

“Out of 280, 11 would be less than 10 percent and that isn’t ungodly high or low,” Dipley said. “These people who have tested positive are not contagious. They’ve been exposed to a bacteria like chicken pox or anything else.”

Students are encouraged to not be leery around other potentially infected students. However, the season of weak immune systems should alert students to be conscience of spreading germs, but not to treat fellow students as unclean or diseased. Some students on campus felt no need to feel anxious.

“From what I heard, it’s not a big problem and I don’t feel I’m going to get it,” said Ryan Evans, freshman undecided major.

One student who noticed a panic through the campus said she felt things were back to normal already.

“I think things are better now, but before people were freaking out,” said Brooke Parks, junior health promotion and wellness major. “Some people will have a skin reaction when they’re tested, and they won’t have tuberculosis. There were a couple of people whose skin started reacting and they started freaking out, and after they had their chest X-rayed they found out they didn’t have it.”