Tuberculosis scare spreads

A further 50 children in Bromma were tested on Friday for tuberculosis.

“We are expecting more positive cases,” said doctor Sten-Erik Bergström.

Nine pre-school children have so far been confirmed as having their lungs affected by tuberculosis. One of the worst affected is being treated at the Astrid Lindgren children’s hospital, but is said to be perky nevertheless.

The results from those children tested earlier in the week are expected late on Friday and Bergström said that he is expecting the number infected to rise. According to consultant Rutger Bennet, a majority of the children tested could be infected.

The infection came from an employee at the pre-school in Bromma who was taken ill with tuberculosis. The circle around her of people being tested is widening all the time, since many children attended the school during the summer when it was used as a daycare centre.

“We will investigate everyone who has had contact with the nursery supervisor this year,” said Sten-Erik Bergström.

An employee at another pre-school who had contact with the sick woman is thought to have been infected and is currently under observation in hospital. However, she appears to have a non-infectious version of the disease.

“The way things are looking now, we don’t need to test the children at the other pre-school,” said Bergström.

But he would not say that the disease is under control yet.

“Testing and tracing the disease is ongoing. We know who we are going to examine but we will certainly speak to more people who have had contact with those who are infected,” he said.

Stockholm district council has created a mobile team to test those who have still not been checked. In total, over 100 people will have been tested and the majority of the results will not be available until next week.

On Thursday it became public that a eight year old boy in the Varberg area of Halland was suspected of having TB. Around 50 people in the boy’s school, both children and parents, will be given skin tests and lung X-rays next week.

“The kid’s going to be fine and will soon be back at school,” said Halland doctor Anders Lindberg to TT.

Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease, spread by adults coughing up bacteria. Small children are especially vulnerable but they cannot pass on the disease.

The bacteria can only be spread between people who are regularly in close contact. According to the council’s information service, there is no risk of picking up the disease simply from occasional contact, such as at work or on the bus.

TB is treated with a long course, usually four to nine months, of a particular form of antibiotics.

TT/The Local