Tuberculosis-infected students cleared and back at school

Tuberculosis-infected students cleared and back at school

A doctor gave the green light as the risk of spreading their strain is not high

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.

Fast facts: 5 things you should know about tuberculosis

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.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
TB-infected students return to school


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