Concerns raised about the safety of pupils following TB outbreak at Dagenham school

Jo Richardson Community School

Jo Richardson Community School - Credit: Archant

Concerns have been raised about the measures being taken to protect pupils following an outbreak of tuberculosis at a Dagenham school.

A letter was sent to parents of Jo Richardson Community School pupils last week, notifying them that a person there had been diagnosed with infectious tuberculosis (TB).

The letter also stated that the individual in question was being treated by specialist services and was responding well to treatment.

It added that the individual is no longer infectious and is back at school.

However, a relative of one pupil, who wishes to remain anonymous, was concerned that only 35 pupils at the Gale Street school were being screened for TB.

She said: “I find it worrying that they are only screening around 35 students out of the school. They should be testing everyone.”

The school has arranged two specialist screening sessions for pupils which will involve a health assessment and Mantoux skin test.

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The first session was scheduled for Monday, with the second due to take place tomorrow (Wednesday).

A spokeswoman for Public Health England (PHE) said that the people who had been invited to screening were those who had the most frequent contact with the original case and are therefore deemed to be most at risk.

Consultant for PHE London, Dr Edward Wynne-Evans, said: “TB is a disease that typically requires close, prolonged and frequent contact before transmission occurs.

“The risk of spread to other contacts in a school or workplace setting is low.

“It is important that everyone is aware of the symptoms of TB, which can include a prolonged unexplained cough, fevers and weight loss.

“Greater awareness can mean the infection is diagnosed much faster.”

A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham council said: “We can confirm that the person involved is responding well to treatment and is no longer infectious.

“As a precaution, screening has been arranged for those who may have come into close contact with the person.”

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