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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Zealand : Disease hits Auckland college

Article via Stuff, an outbreak of tuberculosis is reported :

" A major screening programme is underway at a west Auckland college with a member of the school community seriously ill with tuberculosis.

The person, reportedly a student at Liston College, is in isolation and receiving medical treatment for the potentially deadly disease.

The school's board chairman John Holley would not say whether it was a student or teacher, but said more than 100 people at the Henderson high school would be screened.

However fears of an outbreak were unfounded, he said.

"It's well in hand. There is only one person who actually has the fully developed pulmonary tuberculosis, where it's gone into lungs, and the screening process will very quickly identify if there is anyone else who is at risk."

Holley said they wanted to avoid a "knee-jerk reaction" though the fact that it was within a school community meant the potential for a spread was greater.

The disease was a slow-developing infection, carried by many people without their knowledge, and which had a low rate of transmission outside of areas where people lived in close proximity to each other, he said.

"The key thing here is it's a low infection rate and it takes a while to develop. It's not like swine flu where you're exposed and next week you're sick in bed," he said.

Screening at the school will begin next week and public health officials will return two months later for further testing."

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