TB sparks fears at International School in Porches

A TUBERCULOSIS scare at the International School of the Algarve in Porches, Lagoa, caused concern after a teacher, who left in December, was diagnosed with the contagious disease last week.

According to João Dias, a member of the board of directors of the school (ECUBAL SA), there was a meeting on Tuesday at the school between parents and teachers to discuss the issue.

A doctor from Lagoa medical centre in charge of supervising notifiable illnesses or diseases, Teresa Pereira, was present to discuss tuberculosis and the precautions that should be taken.

Mr Dias told The Resident that “parents were told that there is no risk to children” and the details of the disease were explained to them in full.

However, parents from both the international and Portuguese side to whom The Resident spoke, all said that they were unaware of the situation.

Mr Dias said: “We have nothing to hide”, adding “it could happen anywhere”.

As a result of the meeting, all of the children are currently being screened for tuberculosis and this will continue until Friday, according to Mr Dias. He said: “There is no risk that someone has caught this.”

He said: “This is only being done as a precautionary measure”, although he added that “in a remote chance, someone could have it”.

According to national protocols, if a case of tuberculosis is diagnosed, the local medical centre must be informed. Mr Dias said: “There are medical protocols to make sure that nothing is wrong”.

The former teacher, who is believed to be Portuguese and taught English, will now undergo up to six months of treatment in quarantine. Her family has also been tested but none has tested positive.

According to the Ministry of Health website, the main groups at risk are children, the elderly, people recovering from illnesses and people suffering with immunodeficiencies.

BCG vaccinations in Portugal are mandatory and are administered to babies 30 days after birth. It is effective against most severe strains of the disease.

For more information about tuberculosis in English, please visit www.cdc.gov/tb/default.htm

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