Belfast Telegraph

Youngster treated for tuberculosis

A school child in Northern Ireland has been treated for tuberculosis.

Around 50 fellow pupils at St Michael's Grammar School in Lurgan, Co Armagh, are to be offered screening, the Public Health Agency (PHA) said. They were believed to have been in close contact with the patient, a spokesman added.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious but curable infection which normally affects the lungs and is spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes.

PHA consultant Dr Michael Devine said: "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.

"A number of people who have been in close contact with the patient have been identified and are being offered preliminary screening as a standard precautionary measure."

That will involve a skin test carried out by healthcare workers from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.

Dr Devine added: "TB is a difficult infection to catch and usually requires prolonged close contact."

St Michael's principal Gerard Adams gave the school's support for the screening.

"Our first concern is for our student who is currently being treated for TB. On behalf of all staff and pupils at the school I would like to send our very best wishes for a speedy recovery," he said.

"We must also look to ensuring the health and wellbeing of all our other pupils and so we have screening taking place as a standard precautionary measure."

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