Five students who were found to have tuberculosis (TB) in September have returned to school after being cleared by a medical professional, according to a school spokesperson.
The five were permitted to return to school by a doctor, who said the risk of spreading their strain of TB was not high.
The origin was not, as previously suspected, a school janitor; one of the students had passed the TB on to six others, including a teacher.
Dr Thomas Mok Yun-wing, Chief of Service of Kowloon Hospital’s Respiratory Medical Department, said that there has been a global decline in tuberculosis deaths, but that it remains “a major health issue”.
Treatment for TB, which is caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis, usually consists of first-line drugs, which have a long treatment time and relatively few side-effects. If that particular strain of TB proves to be drug-resistant, second-line drugs will be used to treat it.
The drug-resistant strains are a problem in some parts of the world. But Dr Mok said this is not a serious problem in Hong Kong as these drug-resistant strains account for less than 1 per cent of cultured strains of the tuberculosis bacteria in the city.
The Health Department recorded 4,412 cases of infection and 155 deaths in Hong Kong last year.