At least one primary school child is receiving treatment for tuberculosis after a scare at a school in Merton
A letter from Public Health England sent to parents of children at Harris Primary Academy on April 18 said that a person at the school had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. Children in one class were screened using a skin test on April 25 and April 27. The screening led to an official diagnosis of TB in at least one seven-year-old last week.
A mother has said that her daughter will be on a course of treatment for the next six to nine months, and has to stay away from school for at least three weeks while she is infectious.
She says other children at the school, at least two more, have also been diagnosed and will both be on three to six month courses of treatment.
The school in Abbotts Road, which belongs to the Harris Federation group, declined to comment on the alleged outbreak.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that mainly affects the lungs and is spread by inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.
Public Health England compiles a weekly report on notifications of infectious diseases across the UK. A report published this week shows that one case of tuberculosis was reported in Merton from May 1 to May 7 .
Public Health England Public Health England (PHE) confirmed it has been notified of two cases of tuberculosis at Harris Academy Primary School in Merton and that both are receiving treatment. It said that work is ongoing to ascertain whether the infection has been passed from the first case to the second.
Samantha Perkins, Principal Health Protection Practitioner at PHE’s South London Health Protection Team, said:"TB is a disease that requires prolonged and frequent contact in order to spread. Because of this, the greatest risk of spread is to people who live in the same household as a person with this disease. The risk to other contacts, including those in a school setting, is low.
“We are working closely with the Local Authority Public Health Department, TB specialist nurses and the school in the management of this incident, in-line with national guidelines. TB screening is ongoing for pupils who have had the greatest contact with these cases.
“This includes identifying those with greatest contact and arranging TB screening for them.
“Symptoms of TB include a prolonged cough (usually for more than three weeks), fevers and unexplained weight loss. Greater awareness can mean the condition is diagnosed much faster.”