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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
More pupils offered tests for TB
Gorseinon Junior School
The six children who tested positive were sent for x-rays the same day
More pupils at a Swansea school are being offered tests for tuberculosis (TB) after a teacher, and later three pupils, tested positively.

Around 150 pupils from Gorseinon Infants and Junior Schools were screened after the teacher and her three children were found to have TB.

Six children were sent for chest X-rays, and of these three from the nursery class were diagnosed with TB.

Health officials said further screening was being offered as a precaution.

Dr Sara Hayes, from the National Public Health Service (NPHS), said children in the infants school where the teacher had worked as a dinner supervisor would be offered the test.

It is exceptionally unusual for children to be infectious
Dr Sara Hayes

She said as contact had been for no more than one hour a day, it was "very unlikely" TB could have been transmitted, and it was a "precautionary measure".

"A week ago we only had evidence of TB being passed within the family," she said.

"Now, as a result of the screening we have carried out, we have reason to believe that TB has been passed from the member of staff to children in the nursery classroom where she worked.

Bacterial infection

"This is very unusual. We believe that the adult must have been unusually infectious."

The screening will be offered to the 102 children in reception and year two of the infants school.

Screening was originally offered to children who had shared a class with the member of staff and her children. This included children in the nursery, years one, four and six.

Children in years three and five have not been offered screening because they did not have prolonged contact with the member of staff.

Dr Hayes said there was no evidence of TB being passed from child to child.

"It is exceptionally unusual for children to be infectious," she said, adding that the outbreak control team was continuing to review the situation.

Helpline

TB 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.

However, prolonged contact with the person is usually needed, and most cases can be successfully treated by antibiotics.

The children diagnosed with TB have no symptoms of illness, and will return to school after being treated in two weeks.

The staff member has been off work since March, and her children - who were diagnosed two weeks ago - will also return to the school when they are better.

A helpline on 0845 6003678 has been opened and is available Monday to Friday between 0700 BST and 2000 BST until Friday, 18 May.


SEE ALSO
Six children in positive TB tests
12 May 07 |  South West Wales
Tuberculosis testing at hospital
11 May 07 |  North East/N Isles
Screening as pupils contract TB
11 May 07 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Schools screening for TB begins
09 May 07 |  South West Wales
TB tests offered at city schools
02 May 07 |  South West Wales
Tuberculosis cases 'are rising'
22 Mar 07 |  Health
Tuberculosis
08 Feb 03 |  Medical notes

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