Active Tuberculosis Case At Ole Miss; About 500 Being Tested

Local News

An Ole Miss student tested positive for tuberculosis disease. Officials with The Mississippi State Department of Health are working with the University to test at least 500 people who may be infected after being exposed to the disease.

An infected person is not contagious and has no symptoms unless the infection progresses to full- blown tuberculosis. TB itself is contagious and can be spread through the air. Those who become infected with TB can get treatment to prevent them from developing the disease.

Ole Miss students told Local 24 they’re a little freaked out, but relieved that officials are taking precautions.

“I’d say it’s important probably for, maybe to take the time and get tested,” said senior Jake Azbell. “Just in case there’s a possibility because you don’t want the option of you spreading it. Like to be on the precautionary side.”

“I mean I’m honestly scared. I don’t want that,” said junior Addison McGinnis.

“Not too worried about it myself. It’s always a possibility with college students around,” said Azbell. “Glad to you know get the information to you know be proactive.”

“It’s crazy to kinda be around somebody and not know what they may have,” said senior Timera Rodgers. “Important to stay cautious of who you’re around.”

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection most commonly found in the lungs and can be spread easily from person to person. Symptoms of active TB disease include fever, weight loss, night sweats, and cough.

Not everyone exposed to TB will become infected. It’s unclear how the Ole Miss student got it.

(MS DEPT. OF HEALTH NEWS RELEASE)

Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) announces that a case of active tuberculosis (TB) has been confirmed in a student at the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus. MSDH has been working with officials from the University of Mississippi to identify students and staff who may have been potentially exposed to the active TB case.

MSDH, with cooperation from the University, will initially test approximately 500 individuals for TB infection. The individuals will be notified by a letter with details about the upcoming testing. A second round of testing may be necessary in the next several weeks for those who may have been exposed more recently.

Exposure to active TB disease can result in TB infection. TB infection is not contagious and has no symptoms, but can develop into active TB disease over time. A course of treatment is recommended for those with TB infection in order to prevent future TB disease. Symptoms of active TB disease include fever, weight loss, night sweats and cough.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc said, “The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is a top priority for the University of Mississippi. We will continue to work closely with the Mississippi State Department of Health and appreciate and trust their guidance and assistance to ensure the public health of our community.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers explained that cases of TB are seen every year in the state and sometimes these kinds of investigations in school and university settings are necessary. Ensuring that individuals potentially exposed to active TB disease are tested and treated if needed is an activity MSDH conducts routinely.”

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