Warning as case of deadly Victorian disease is detected at a UK school – as pupils screened | The Sun

AN investigation is underway after a case of tuberculosis was identified at a school in Wales.

Health officials confirmed one person had tested positive for the deadly Victorian infection at The John Frost School in Newport.

But they insisted there was "nothing to suggest" it had been contracted while on the premises.

No TB outbreak has been declared and a probe is ongoing. Pupils and staff are being screened.

James Adamson, from Public Health Wales (PHW), said: "This is a routine process, and if any other positive TB infections are identified as a result, appropriate treatment will be offered.

"TB is difficult to transmit. It requires close and prolonged contact with an infectious individual for a person to become infected.


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"In this instance, and to limit the potential spread of infection, we are treating all pupils and teachers who may have had contact with the individual as close personal contacts.

"I would stress that the risk of infection with TB to the general public remains very low however, we encourage parents, pupils and staff members to be aware of the symptoms."

Around 1,200 pupils aged 11 to 18 attend the school.

It is understood the affected person did not know they were infected when they went to class.

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TB has been around for thousands of years. From 1600 to 1800, it was responsible for around 25 per cent of all deaths in Europe.

It is an airborne disease that spreads through close contact with infected people.

It usually affects the lungs and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

Common symptoms include a persistent cough, exhaustion, a high temperature and weight loss.

Treatment often involves a course of antibiotics, but TB is developing greater resistance.

Before the pandemic, TB rates had been declining for almost two decades across the European Region – which comprises 53 countries.

But data shows the downward trend was broken for the first time.

Some 27,300 died from TB in 2021, compared to 27,000 in 2020.

Russia and Ukraine were the two most affected countries, with around 4,900 and 3,600 deaths respectively.

But cases and fatalities are on the rise elsewhere, with some experts blaming vaccinations programmes being scrapped.


The BCG jab, administered during childhood, is the most widely used shot globally.

However, it is no longer routinely offered to secondary school kids in the UK.

Instead, the NHS only targets youngsters deemed most at risk.

Further issues arise because immunity does not last beyond the teenage years, and no booster has been developed.

Dr Meera Chand, of the UK Health Security Agency, said: "We are working with the NHS to strengthen prevention, detection and treatment."

Dr Jenny Harries, CEO, said last year: "TB is curable and preventable and now is the time to get our elimination efforts back on track.

"Despite significant progress towards elimination in recent years, tuberculosis remains a serious public health issue in the UK."

Last month, statistics indicated TB could soon overtake Covid as the world's most deadly infectious disease.

In 2021, an estimated 10.5million people fell ill with TB across the globe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The disease, once called consumption, claimed 1.6m lives.

In the same year, 204m people tested positive for Covid, of which 3.5m died.

While cases rose to 445m in 2022, the number of deaths dropped to 1.2m.

So far in 2023, there have been 34m cases and just 222,000 fatalities.

As TB rates remain stable, it suggests it will leapfrog the virus as the most deadly globally.

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Based on annual rates, it means 4,109 people are killed by TB every day, compared to 1,216 from coronavirus.

Anyone with links to The John Frost School who has experienced symptoms should contact their GP or PHW's health protection team on 0300 00 300 32.

What is TB and what are the symptoms?

TB is an airborne disease that spreads through close contact with infected people.

It usually affects the lungs and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

Sometimes no symptoms will appear. But if they do, the most common include:

  • A cough that lasts more than three weeks (sometimes with mucus and/or blood)
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • A high temperature or night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling generally unwell

If TB has spread to another part of the body, you may also experience:

  • Swollen glands
  • Body aches and pains
  • Swollen joints or ankles
  • Tummy or pelvic pain
  • Constipation
  • Dark or cloudy pee
  • A headache
  • Being sick
  • Feeling confused
  • A stiff neck
  • A rash on the legs, face or other body part

Treatment usually involves a course of antibiotics, but TB is developing greater resistance.

Source: NHS

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