By Chris King • 04 June 2023 • 20:41
Image of a tuberculosis culture.
Credit: CDC/Dr. George Kubica - Public Domain
At least 19 cases of suspected tuberculosis have been detected in a school in Galicia, as confirmed by the Community’s health authorities.
The incident occurred among students in the sixth-form class of the IES Julio Prieto Nespereira school in the O Vinteún district of Ourense.
All those affected have been isolated at home and are being monitored by the authorities. They are still undergoing routine studies to verify the existence of the disease because a positive test by itself only indicates a possible previous contact with the tuberculosis bacteria.
Galicia’s Dirección Xeral de Saúde Pública (Directorate General of Public Health) sent out a message for residents to remain calm. They assured that all the necessary activities are being carried out to limit the transmission of this disease and the appearance of new cases in the school.
Sources from the Consellería de Sanidade explained that once the first case became known, the existing protocol in Galicia was set in motion to analyse the potential risk of transmission and to detect possible contagions early.
As specified by the same sources, as a result, the study of contacts was organised, prioritising the closest contacts – those who lived more than six hours a day with the patients, according to La Voz de Galicia.
Sanidade clarified that it was not possible to speak of an outbreak in the school, because the positive tests only showed that this person was in contact with the bacteria, but not that he or she had the disease.
The Galician Programme for the Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis – which has been in operation in Galicia since 1994 – states: “Tuberculosis is a preventable and curable infectious disease that is transmitted through the air. When cases are detected early and receive full treatment, patients quickly stop being contagious and are cured”.
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection that usually affects the lungs. It can be treated with antibiotics but can be serious if not treated. There is a vaccine that helps protect some people who are at risk from the disease, according to the NHS.
Symptoms normally appear gradually in patients and can include a high temperature or night sweats, a cough that lasts more than 3 weeks, during which phlegm or mucus with blood in it is coughed up. Other signs include feeling tired or exhausted, a loss of appetite, wight loss, or generally just feeling unwell.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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