School children tested for TB after teacher is infected
PUPILS and staff at a primary school in Glasgow will be screened for tuberculosis after a teacher was found to have the disease, health chiefs said today.
The teacher at Notre Dame Primary, in the Dowanhill area, contracted the potentially fatal infection, but is now said to be recovering.
The 340 children who attend the school and up to 20 members of staff are now to be tested.
Tuberculosis is passed by prolonged contact with someone who is coughing up TB germs. Prolonged contact is defined as three to four hours.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board said the screening was a "precautionary measure", and routine in the circumstances.
Letters had been sent to parents aiming to reassure them, the board added.
Dr Syed Ahmed, a consultant in public health with the authority, said: "This is an isolated case and not an outbreak.
"In keeping with national guidance we are screening close contacts, including the children at the teacher's school, as an extra precaution and are offering advice and information where appropriate."
Symptoms of the disease include a persistent cough; weight loss; loss of appetite; high temperature or excessive sweating, particularly at night and lasting for two weeks or more; coughing up blood or dirty spit; and chest tightness or pain.
In 2004, around 1.6 million people died from the disease, mostly in developing countries.
But the incidence of tuberculosis in developed countries is also on the rise, as people's immune systems are weakened by increased use of medication, and higher rates of substance abuse and HIV.
A spokesman Glasgow City Council said: "We follow the advice of public health experts.
"Skin testing is purely a precautionary measure. We will continue to liaise with the health board over the coming weeks."
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