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The BBC's Navdip Dhawiral
"They are pretty confident now that they've managed to contain the disease"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 18 April, 2001, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
More TB cases found
Crown Hills Community College
The children tested were from Crown Hills Community College
Further testing of pupils at a Leicester school has found 18 new cases of tuberculosis, taking the total number infected to 50.

The new cases were found after the screening of 550 pupils at Crown Hills Community College in Leicester.

In total, 44 pupils are affected, two members of staff and four relatives.

Another 100 are now receiving antibiotic treatment as a precaution, 40 of whom were identified in the latest round of screening.

Health chiefs intimated that the source had been discovered, but said further tests were needed to confirm that.

They say the TB outbreak is the worst in Britain for 20 years, though add they believe it is under control.

The testing programme was accelerated after the infection was found in a 15-year-old student at Crown Hills.

Two pupils with confirmed TB are receiving hospital treatment.

Two teachers who were initially thought to have the disease were later cleared.

Exposure

Health chiefs stressed the TB cases being discovered now had been exposed to the disease two to three months ago - the period TB takes to develop.

Dr Philip Monk, who is leading the work to tackle the outbreak, said: "What we are seeing is a disease that is not recently acquired over the last week.

Dr Philip Monk
Dr Philip Monk: 'Under control'
He said: "We don't believe that there is an on-going risk. It isn't spreading."

Dr Monk added: "We have got this outbreak under control."

Some children who have been away from school, and around 50 staff have yet to be tested.

Contacts of those who have already been diagnosed with the disease will also be traced.

Public health officials are checking movements within the school, such as which classes used what classrooms in a bid to find out how the disease spread.

TB is also being grown in a laboratory in the hope that DNA testing can be used to trace the source of the outbreak.

Other schools affected

Pupils at three other schools in Leicester are also to be screened after an infectious case of TB was found at each one.

All are being treated, and none are being linked to the Crown Hills cases.

At Wyvern School and Hamilton Community College all students will be tested.

At Loughborough College, where students are older and some only part-time, only selected screening will take place.

Screening would not normally occur when only one case had been diagnosed, but public health chiefs implemented the programme in the light of the Crown Hills outbreak.

There are usually around 200 cases of TB in Leicestershire each year.

Last year, a six-year-old girl at a different Leicester school died of TB.

Letters have been sent to GPs in Leicester, reminding them of the symptoms of the disease - unexplained weight loss, prolonged coughs and night sweats.

Patients reporting such symptoms will receive chest x-rays as a matter of urgency.

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See also:

11 Apr 01 | Health
TB screening extended
08 Apr 01 | Health
TB testing stepped up
05 Apr 01 | Health
TB outbreak 'getting worse'
05 Apr 01 | Health
TB tests for outbreak families
04 Apr 01 | Health
'Major outbreak' of TB
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