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TB testing: More pupils in contact

PUBLISHED: 14:13 30 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:51 11 August 2010

A FURTHER 22 people at Cambell Junior School have shown signs of having come into contact with tuberculosis (TB). All 281 pupils and 35 staff were screened for the disease on December 8 after an outbreak at the Langley Crescent school in November. These 2

A FURTHER 22 people at Cambell Junior School have shown signs of having come into contact with tuberculosis (TB).

All 281 pupils and 35 staff were screened for the disease on December 8 after an outbreak at the Langley Crescent school in November.

These 22 will now undergo additional tests to check whether or not they have an active infection. None of them are infectious.

They will also be referred to the TB team at Queen's Hospital for a course of antibiotics.

Dr Tania Misra, a consultant with the Health Protection Agency, said: "It is likely that some will have a latent infection which means the bacteria is in their body but isn't yet causing them any symptoms.

"It is important to stress that this group of people do not have TB but are taking antibiotics to prevent them from developing TB later in life as a result of this exposure. An active infection requires a longer course of antibiotics."

An unidentified person at the school tested positive for TB in November leading to a screening of all pupils in year five.

Of these, 25 children have the latent TB and a small number had the active form. A spokeswoman for the health protection agency would not disclose the exact number of active cases but said it was "fewer than five".

As the POST reported last week all children at the school are being offered the BCG injection.

The jab, once compulsory in schools, has now been phased out and is only given in unusual circumstances.

There are still no plans to test children at neighbouring Cambell Infants School because the original infected person had no contact with the school and no-one at the Junior is infectious.

Last year's year six pupils who are now studying at comprehensives will be offered TB tests in the New Year. Parents can expect to be contacted in early January.

The symptoms of TB are a prolonged cough, fevers, night sweats, blood in the saliva and weight loss. It can be fatal if left untreated but is easily cured with modern antibiotics.


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