Five further positive TB tests in Switzerland 

TB bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) (archive picture) Keystone / Rki/gudrun Holland

A further five people have tested positive for tuberculosis in Switzerland – after three pupils were reported to be suffering from the disease earlier this year. But they have not become ill, officials say.

This content was published on December 13, 2019 - 11:46
Keystone-SDA/swissinfo.ch/ilj

In all, 63 people were tested after three pupils were reported ill at schools in Suhr, Oberkulm and Brugg in canton Aargau, northern Switzerland. The five people found to be positive for the disease, which is rare in Switzerland, were infected but not ill and therefore not contagious, the Aargau cantonal government said on Friday, responding to a question from the cantonal parliament.

It could not be said with certainty that these cases were due to the TB sufferers at the school; it cannot be ruled out that they were infected at an earlier point in time, as infections only show up after two months, the cantonal government answered. It is is not intending to take any extra measures, it add.

In September the Suhr school wrote to 1,350 parents after on of its pupils in the fourth year of primary school became ill with TB. It is thought she became infected on holiday. After that, two further cases in schools in Oberkulm and Brugg became public.

Rare

TB cases in schools are rare, and in Aargau this year there have been five, cantonal officials said.

Overall, there are around 550 cases of TB a year in Switzerland, according to the Federal Health Office, most of which affect people who came to Switzerland from abroad.  In former times, TB used to be very common in the country.

The illness, which is caused by bacteria that most often affect the lungs, is curable and preventable. It is spread through the air and progresses slowly.

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