TB scare sparks pupil screening offer at school
PUPILS at a Llanelli school are being offered screening for tuberculosis (TB) after a member of staff was diagnosed with the infection.
Letters have been sent to parents of the pupils at Ysgol y Strade to advise that their children will be offered a blood test next Thursday.
Screening will also be targeted at 21 members of staff who have been identified as close contacts of the patient.
The move is precautionary, as the risk of infection passing to pupils is a low one.
Sion Lingard, Acting Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: "We are emphasising to pupils, parents, and staff that it is very rare for TB to be transmitted within a school environment and so we are offering screening as a precaution."
The consultant added that infection only usually takes place after a long period of close exposure to someone with TB, such as "living in the same household". The infection is difficult to catch, but treatable with antibiotics.
An additional four cases of TB have been identified in the Llanelli area over the last year.
However, none of these have links to this incident at Ysgol y Strade.
Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs, but any part of the body can be affected.
It is transmitted by inhaling the bacteria from coughs and sneezes from someone who has TB in their lungs.
The most common symptom of TB is a persistent cough for more than three weeks, with spit which can sometimes be blood-stained.
Other symptoms can include weight loss, a high temperature, and sweating, particularly at night.
Anyone who is concerned about their health should speak to their GP or contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.
More information on tuberculosis is available from the Public Health Wales website at: www.publichealthwales.org/TB