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Minor Tuberculosis Outbreak In Welsh School

Health experts are allaying fears over a tuberculosis outbreak in a Welsh school .

Two schools in Wales- Gorseinon Infant and Junior Schools conducted tuberculosis-screening tests after a member of staff and her three children were found to be infected with the bacteria.

After the completion of the tests, six children were found to be positive.

In spite of this, health professionals have urged parents not to panic.

Of the 172 children offered screening, 150 attended the session. The children with positive readings have been referred for a hospital chest X-ray.

Dr Mac Walapu, consultant in communicable disease control with the National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS) says: A positive test does not necessarily mean the child has TB. A positive result can be caused by a reaction to a previous BCG vaccination or to exposure to TB at any time in the past. It can also be caused by exposure to other germs similar to TB, which are mostly harmless.

TB can only be spread by very close contact. The risk of it spreading within the school is very low.

Accordingly, only children and adults in close contact with the staff member and her children have been screened. Many did not need to be tested because they were not in close contact with the member of staff or her children.

The test involves injecting a small amount of purified sterile protein just under the skin in the forearm. The test is read two days later.

The same testing will be repeated six weeks after the last contact of the students with the infected patients, as this is when the test will be most accurate.

Dr Walapu added: We have had very good support from the education authority and staff in the school. Parents have also been very co-operative and supportive.

Parents had been sent a TB fact sheet when they were first informed of the illness affecting the teacher and her children.

Dr Sara Hayes from the National Public Health Service for Wales was quoted: "The children found with TB have no symptoms and appear to be well.

"They are receiving treatment. All the cases are expected to make a full recovery."

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection, which usually affects the lungs but can affect almost any part of the body.

It can be spread when someone with the infection coughs sneezes or talks and another person breathes in the bacteria.


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