Students test positive for tuberculosis

Alexandra Nicolas

A Missouri Southern student has tested positive for tuberculosis, according to University officials.

Though federal laws prohibit revealing the name of the student, a plan to test those who had contact with the students is in the works.

Caused by bacteria, Tuberculosis, or TB, is now treatable with a regimen of antibiotics, but was once the leading cause of death in the United States.

It primarily attacks the lungs and is spread through the air.

Rod Surber, director of public information, issued the initial statement Oct. 17 and is collaborating with other University officials and the Joplin Health Department.

Surber said the health department is conducting a screening of those likely to be at risk and will notify them as needed.

Southern students have voiced concern over the issue and many want more information concerning their health and potential risk.

Symptoms of tuberculosis include a severe cough, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or phlegm, weakness or feeling tired, losing weight without trying, having no appetite, chills and fever and night sweating.

Anyone who experiences these symptoms should contact Health Services at 625-9323.

Persons with an immune deficiency are especially susceptible to TB, as well as those who are underweight or have had organ transplants.

Testing for TB involves a basic skin test that can be conducted at any hospital or through Health Services.

Surber said in a campus-wide e-mail that persons who believe they need to be tested now should contact Jan Dipley, director of Health Services, and schedule an appointment.

Though TB is responsible for more adult deaths than any other infectious disease, there has been medical treatment available since the 1940s.

“This is a very serious disease, but the good news is that it can be treated, cured and prevented,” said Maggie Holt, R.N., community health nurse for the Joplin Health Department.

Information on the spread of the disease is being distributed throughout campus to students, faculty and staff.

For more information about TB please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov/nchstp/tb/faqs/qa.htm.