Outbreak fears as school child falls ill with one of the world's most infectious medieval bugs | The Sun

A SCHOOL child has fallen ill with tuberculosis (TB) sparking fears of an outbreak.

The unnamed high school student in Kansas, US, is now receiving medical treatment at an "isolated location", health officials have said.

TB is one of the most infectious killer diseases in history.

Health authorities are scrambling to identify people who've come into contact with the student to stop the spread of the bug.

Charlie Hunt, director of the Johnson County Department of Health, said: "We want to make sure that we don't miss anyone.

"And so right now, we have approximately 425 people that have been identified."

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TB spreads in the air when people carrying an infection cough, sneeze or spit.

Until now, cases of the deadly infection have decreased by about two per cent per year for most of the past two decades.

According to a report on TB by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease infected 10.6 million people in 2021, an increase of 4.5 per cent compared with 2020.

The disease, once named consumption, also claimed the lives of 1.6 million people.

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Experts put the rise in cases and deaths down to the pandemic, which saw the diversion of TB resources towards battling coronavirus, which resulted in delayed diagnoses and reduced contact tracing.

To make matters worse, cases of drug-resistant TB also increased by three per cent between 2020 and 2021, the report said.

Last year, Brits were urged to be on the lookout for signs of the deadly Victorian disease after an outbreak at a university in Wales.

Three students at a university campus tested positive for the illness – eight months after coming into close contact with someone who died from the disease.

TB has been around for thousands of years. And from 1600 to 1800, the disease was responsible for 25 per cent of all deaths in Europe.

It's an airborne bug that affects the lung but can also have an impact on the tummy, bones, glands and nervous system.

There's a jab that protects against the bug, but vaccination programmes have been scrapped in several countries over the last 20 years.

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

It is no longer offered to secondary school kids in the UK and instead only targets young children deemed most at risk.

The 6 symptoms of TB to watch out for

TB is a potentially serious condition, but it can be cured if it’s treated with the right antibiotics.

  • a persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
  • breathlessness that gradually gets worse
  • lack of appetite and weight loss
  • a high temperature
  • night sweats

Source: NHS

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