T-B or Not T-B?

Nobel International School was struck with two cases of TB (Tuberculosis) recently when one student was hospitalized on Sunday. However, both cases did not occur at the same time. One of the students has since returned to school after an observation period and has since been cleared by doctors. The second student, has been diagnosed with TB on Sunday after coughing for 4 months, and is currently undergoing treatment in the hospital.

Both students are reported to be in the same Year 10 class. Their classroom has been quarantined, while their classmates have been moved to another classroom on a different floor.

Ms Evelyn Tay, our Junior & Senior School Principal has addressed this issue this afternoon stating that all students from that class will be required to undergo a TB screening. This is to be held on Wednesday, together with all teachers who attended lessons in that class. A complete report would then be provided to parents. “The school has informed the Health Department and they have provided us with directives on what procedures to follow” said Ms. Tay. She also advised students against the spreading of rumours as there are currently no active TB cases in the school following the student’s hospitalization.

According to the Ministry of Health’s official website, symptoms of Tuberculosis includes a cough that lasts for 2 weeks that may contain occasional bloodstained sputum (green/yellow mucus). Other symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, loss of weight, chest pain and night sweats. TB is an air-borne disease and can be transmitted through salivary droplets from sneezing and coughing.

The WHO (World Health Organization) states that a person who inhales TB germs may be infected with TB but may not necessarily become ill with the disease (there is only a 10% chance that a person may become ill in his lifetime). This is due to the body’s immune system that acts as a firewall against the disease. The risk of active TB maybe be multiplied if a person suffers from other diseases that affect the immune system such as HIV. “About one-third of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with disease and cannot transmit the disease.”

TB is a curable and preventable disease. TB patients have to undergo a 6-month antibiotic course. BCG vaccination is also another way of prevention.

The Excalibur advises students not to panic. Instead, one should always practice good hygiene such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer and covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing.

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