What you need to know about the eight cases of tuberculosis confirmed at a secondary school in Sha Tin

What you need to know about the eight cases of tuberculosis confirmed at a secondary school in Sha Tin

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Hong Kong recorded 4,412 infection cases and 155 deaths last year.
Photo: Alamy

The Hong Kong health authorities have confirmed that eight people from a secondary school in Sha Tin were infected with tuberculosis.

The Department of Health was notified about the infections in early September, a spokesman said on Tuesday, without naming the school.

An initial investigation showed eight people were affected: seven students and a school employee. All eight individuals are in stable condition and the school continued normal operations, the spokesman said.


Fast facts: 5 things you should know about tuberculosis


The department’s tuberculosis and chest service had arranged screening for the students and teachers who had had close contact with the eight patients to test whether they are also affected. Treatments for before test results are out could be applied if needed, the spokesman said.

“Tuberculosis is still a common infectious disease in Hong Kong, (and is) occasionally seen in schools,” the spokesman said. Also, that patients of tuberculosis typically experiences symptoms including coughing up blood, chest pain, fatigue and fever, and are usually spotted when they approach a doctor.

Dr Lee Tak-wai, a specialist in cardiothoracic surgery, said tuberculosis had not been eradicated due to difficulties in diagnosis and treatment.

The bacteria can hide in someone’s lymph nodes for decades. Related fatalities usually involve the elderly.

Lee said tuberculosis was still a global health risk, with a high prevalence of the disease both in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

Edited by Heidi Yeung

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