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    Dec 11, 2015

    NUH screening finds baby with latent TB

    A BABY exposed to a nurse with tuberculosis (TB) at the National University Hospital (NUH) has been found to have a latent version of the disease.

    The boy, who is four months old now, was in Ward 47 where the nurse worked, from Aug 23 to Sept 5.

    Although he has the bacteria in his system, he does not have the active disease, which can be fatal if not treated correctly.

    The hospital is recalling 178 paediatric patients for screening.

    They had been cared for by the nurse in that ward before she discovered she had the disease.

    She was diagnosed with it at the end of last month and immediately informed the hospital, which swung into action to identify and screen patients who could have caught the bug from her.

    The boy is one of more than 80 who have been screened and is the only one found to harbour the bacteria so far.

    Daniel Goh, head of paediatrics at NUH, had said there is no urgency in screening the children as getting the bug does not translate into getting full-blown TB.

    Treatment for latent TB has a greater than 90 per cent chance of preventing the disease. Treatment also has a high chance of curing people with the full-blown disease.

    A spokesman for the hospital said the boy has already started treatment.

    TB is transmitted through airborne droplets and usually requires significant contact with an infected person. So far this year, 1,252 people here have been diagnosed with it. Symptoms of TB include persistent cough, fever, fatigue, chills, loss of appetite and weight loss.

    However, people with latent TB do not have the disease and have no symptoms.