Thursday, April 24, 2008

City Health contains outbreak of MDR TB at local high school

By Celeste Ganga
24 April 2008


The City of Cape Town’s Health Department has acted swiftly to contain an outbreak of Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) at Edgemead High School. Chairperson of the City’s Health Portfolio Committee and Ward Councillor for Edgemead and Bothasig- James Vos- says City Health and the provincial health department recently heard about a learner at the school who didn’t respond to treatment of MDR TB.

“On notification of the Edgemead learner’s situation, City Health immediately visited the family and requested that the learner be removed from school until the disease had been brought under control,” explains Vos.

He adds that although the risk of transmission at the school is considered as minimal, the City took decisive action to prevent transmission and create better awareness of the country’s TB problem.

Vos says TB is a very common disease in South Africa, “last year 27 000 cases of TB were in Cape Town alone. As it is a curable disease- the City offers free diagnosis and treatment”.

The treatment of TB lasts between six and eight months. One of the challenges in the process is to get patients to complete the treatment as some stop their medication as soon as they feel better. This could result in a small percentage of cases developing into MDR TB.

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