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Staff and students tested for TB in Scunthorpe

Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Image caption TB is caused by infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Dozens of students and staff at a college in North Lincolnshire have been offered medical tests after a case of tuberculosis (TB) was diagnosed.

The group at John Leggott College in Scunthorpe includes about 90 students and staff who had the closest contact with the person who had the illness.

Disease control experts said the risk was considered "low" and antibiotics could be used to treat the condition.

An outbreak of tuberculosis was reported at the college in June 2009.

Dr Terry Matthews, consultant in communicable disease control for North Yorkshire and the Humber Health Protection Unit, said: "Following discussion with TB experts and with the full support of the college, around 90 students and staff members will be offered a precautionary test.

"Tuberculosis is usually caught from someone who has infectious TB when that person coughs or sneezes.

"Close and prolonged contact with the infectious individual is usually needed to be at risk of being infected."

'Screening concern'

David Vasse, principal at John Leggott College, said: "I have the college community's best interests at heart and I am committed to ensuring our response is comprehensive and effective.

"We understand that the screening may be of concern to those in our college community and so this week we will be providing college students and their parents the opportunity to meet with college staff and health professionals to discuss this.

"We will be ensuring all college staff and students are kept fully informed about the screening and its outcomes.

"We have been assured that health services are aiming to complete the process before the college's Christmas break."

Symptoms

Frances Cunning, director of public health at NHS North Lincolnshire, said: "We know that TB exists in our local communities and so we should always be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease.

"They include a cough - lasting for more than two weeks, sometimes with blood streaked sputum (phlegm/ spit)."

Health officials said other symptoms included a shortness of breath, loss of appetite and weight loss, fever, sweating - particularly at night - and extreme fatigue and tiredness.

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