Health department contact tracing helps keep MSU students safe

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By Paige Bolen
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Carly Glynn, a 19-year-old family and community services sophomore who died Feb. 10 at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, died of meningococcal septicaemia, according to the Ingham County Health Department.

Meningococcal septicaemia is the deadlier of the two meningococcal diseases and happens when bacteria enters the bloodstream.

“This bacteria was not invading the community. It was already there,” said Marcus Cheatum, a public information officer. “One out of five people have meningococcal bacteria but never get sick.”

The Ingham County Health Department has a sub-contract with Michigan State University and local health care systems for emergency public services. These include well-water safety, food safety, health and living and animal sanitation at the MSU pavilion.

“Our main goal is to determine who had contact with Carly Glynn to stop spread of the bug,” said Cheatum. “These different health care systems, this time it was Sparrow, call us and we go to work.”

The Health Department identified 15 people whom Glynn had contact with. Each of these students received preventative medications, and no new cases have been identified.

“With these type of cases, lots of fear generates more publicity,” said Cheatum.

According to level four student supervisor at The Gallery Residential Dining Hall of Snyder-Phillips Hall at MSU Bethann Malczewski, this kind of publicity can also encourage students to be more aware.

“Before the health department told us it wasn’t food related, we pretty much stripped the dining hall,” said Malczewski. “No germ could have lived through our deep clean!”

According to Malczewski, who was told about the death through meetings with her supervisor, the dining hall has always been a very sanitary place but tension from the students made everyone take a second look.

“After I found out, the health department met with all the students that lived in hall and tried to calm people down,” said Malczewski. “They educated us to what it could have been or stemmed from and what we could do to be more safe. I am glad the health department works so closely with MSU.”

The community is kept safe through the contact tracing the Ingham County Health Department does.

MSU sophomore Kevin Smith said he couldn’t agree more.

“The health department is extremely knowledgeable and really watching over us,” said Smith. “I’m glad I can trust them, and when I say that, I know I speak for my all my classmates.”

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