Two children hospitalised with TB in two weeks

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Health officials are monitoring an 18-month toddler who recently arrived in Antigua after he tested positive for tuberculosis in the United States.
The baby boy is the second child to be hospitalised in the past two weeks, with the highly contagious,
but, treatable bacterial disease.
“The day after the child arrived here, [a U.S. doctor] contacted us to say that a routine test they did come back positive the day after the child reached Antigua. We have since studied the grandmother, the other grandchild and the grandmother’s daughter,” Dr. James Knight, a senior medical officer said.
Tuberculosis or T.B. is spread through the air when people who have the active bacteria in their lungs cough, spit, speak, or sneeze.
The symptoms of active T.B. are a chronic cough often bloody, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. The disease is also known as “consumption” – a term adopted due to the weight loss that patients suffer.
A four-year-old preschooler was the first confirmed case for 2018. For the past two weeks, the boy was hospitalised and treated for several ailments, however, the confirmation of T.B. only came last week.
Dr. Knight told OBSERVER media that the child is doing well and should be released from the hospital soon.
“The only reason he has not gone home is that they want to give the household [which] came out negative, a course of treatment before the child is discharged,” he said.
The toddler came into contact with someone who recently arrived here.
On Friday, when 40-plus parents of PreK-3 and PreK-1 classes of a private preschool in St. John’s got the notification to take their children to the St. John’s Health Centre on Monday, they were given no specific reason, until they arrived.
There, they learned that the four-year-old PreK-3 boy had been hospitalised for two weeks.
The children at his school underwent a standard T.B test on Monday and are to return today for the results. That’s because the method used – A Mantoux test – required a 48-hour waiting period to check for a reaction to the solution that was injected under their skin.
Once there is a positive reaction, a chest x-ray will follow. Dr. Knight said there would be six months of “direct observation therapy” for positive patients where a nurse will make house visits and ensure the patient is taking their medication.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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