Wednesday 21 February 2018

Pupils tested after TB outbreak at school

Anne-Marie Walsh

A number of young pupils will receive hospital treatment today following a TB outbreak at a primary school in the midlands.

It is understood that up to five students in third class at St Paul's National School in Portlaoise are due to attend the Midlands Regional Hospital for X-rays and tests.

Just two years ago, more than 220 children and staff at another primary school in Cork were screened for TB following an outbreak of the disease.

A concerned parent, who did not want to be named, said their child is being put on antibiotics for six months following the outbreak at the Laois school.

"We got a letter last March from the school telling us that our children would be tested because of a suspect case," they said.

"When the results came back a couple of days later, we were told that our son was borderline and more tests would take place. He was told he tested positive last Friday."

Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming said the HSE must act immediately to stem the threat to other students.

"The main thing is that the HSE respond 100pc to this," he said. "It's been too slow up to now. Children are getting X-rays and visiting hospital but this is going on for a couple of months."

Mr Fleming raised the issue of a TB outbreak at a Laois school with the Health Minister James Reilly last March.

In a written response at the time, Mr Reilly said all the children in one class at a primary school in Laois had been screened for TB in accordance with national guidelines, "following notification of a case of TB".

He said the screening had identified some children who needed further investigation.

He said the process of screening for TB takes a number of months to complete and the school screening had not identified any further cases of active TB. "No delay is anticipated," he added.

The HSE spokesperson for the Portlaoise area was not available for comment last night.

Irish Independent

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