Local students on same flight as infected man

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News 12 at six o'clock, May 30, 2007.

Aiken, SC---

More than two dozen USC-Aiken students were on board the transatlantic flight earlier this month with a man infected with a rare form of tuberculosis. Officials at the school say the students were heading to Europe to study abroad as a part of the international buisness program for a 16 day trip.
Accounting and tax senior instructor, Kathleen Wates, says the class returned to the U.S. on Monday night. "My daughter who works in Atlanta e-mailed me and told me," Wates said. Health officials say while the chances of the man transmitting the potentially deadly disease are low, the disease known as XDR TB, is essentially a highly drug resistant tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a a disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. Despite it Wates says she's not that worried. "It's a real small chance and I don't remember anyone sneezing or coughing on me so I'm not that concerned," she said. While the CDC has asked everyone on one of the two flights with the infected man, Wates says with summer school looming ahead, getting tested isn't a high priority. "I'll go sooner or later," she said.
School officials say they're contacting all the students and teachers on that flight and making arrangements for those who want to be tested at the Aiken County Health Department.

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