Calls to give TB vaccination to Cork school junior infants

PUBLIC health officials dealing with an outbreak of tuberculosis which has infected 25 children at a Cork school have requested that junior infants due to start school next week be prioritised for vaccination.

Dr Margaret O’Sullivan, public health consultant with the Health Service Executive (HSE) South, said they had asked the BCG vaccination department to put these children at the top of a list of 4,400 children waiting to be inoculated against the disease.

Since the first child case of TB was notified to public health officials on July 29, 25 children at Ballintemple National School, Crab Lane, have been diagnosed with the disease, including five with full-blown TB and 20 with a non-infectious latent form.

Dr O’Sullivan said children with full-blown TB are not contagious but that compliance with their treatment regime was essential.

She confirmed some of those who had worked at the school last year but are not due to return this year had yet to be screened.

She said public health officials were aware of who they were.

The infectious source of the outbreak has not been identified.

Dr O’Sullivan also said the school’s sixth class pupils of last year, who have since moved on to secondary school, had been contacted and offered screening. She said at this stage there was “no reason” to extend screening to those secondary schools.

Fine Gael TD Deirdre Clune said the HSE and the Government “should ensure that necessary services are introduced to protect the population, especially children”.

- The information line for concerned parents is 1800 742800.


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