Tuberculosis :: TB screening offered to primary school students

The Department of Health is offering screening to students at a Perth primary school who may have had contact with a student who has tuberculosis.

Director of Communicable Disease Control Dr Paul Van Buynder said 66 children and 10 teachers at Koondoola Primary School would be offered testing as part of routine contact tracing.

?The students attend the Intensive English Centre at the school and the Department has contacted parents individually,? he said.

?While the risk of transmission to other students is very low, parents have been reassured that the Department is doing all it can to ensure that each person who may be at risk is tested and receives treatment if necessary.

Dr Van Buynder said while this was the second child in a month to test positive for tuberculosis, the numbers of people diagnosed with the disease in WA had remained constant over the past few years.

?We see 60-80 cases of TB in WA every year and there is no evidence that the disease is being transmitted within WA,? he said.

?Detection of TB in this child is a reflection of the high quality refugee screening program in WA.?

Dr Van Buynder said tuberculosis was a curable bacterial disease spread through the air by droplets when an infected person coughed or sneezed.

?Symptoms of tuberculosis include a productive cough, fevers and night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss and lethargy,? he said.

Dr Van Buynder said the infected student was currently receiving treatment and posed no further risk to students and staff.

The Department of Health will conduct free screening at the school next week.

Parents of students at the school who are concerned should contact the Perth Chest Clinic on 9325 3922.


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