Expert says risk to other kids in TB case is ‘low’

By Francesca Ryan

A PUPIL at St Joseph’s Primary School in Slate Street is being treated for suspected tuberculosis (TB). An information letter and TB factsheet have been sent to pupils at the West Belfast school as a precautionary measure.

“I would like to reassure parents and those who attend the school that children with TB are rarely infectious to others and the risk to pupils and staff at the school is low,” said Dr Michael Devine, Consultant in Health Protection, Public Health Agency (PHA).  “There is no indication that this pupil was infectious to other people.”

The PHA says it is working with colleagues from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and St Joseph’s Primary School to ensure an appropriate and effective response at the school in line with standard practice.

“TB is a serious but curable infectious disease which normally affects the lungs but it can affect other parts of the body,” said Dr Devine.  “It is usually spread through the air when a patient coughs or sneezes. TB is a difficult infection to catch and usually requires prolonged close contact.”

School Principal Margaret McQuillan said the school is working with the PHA.

“The school is cooperating with the Public Health Agency to ensure the safety of pupils,” she said.

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