All kids at childcare centre tested after staff member contracts TB

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All children at the Agape Little Uni, a child care centre and kindergarten in Sengkang East, have been tested for tuberculosis after a member of the staff was diagnosed with the disease.

The children, aged between two and six years old, were tested from Monday.

A nurse from the TB Unit from Tan Tock Seng Hospital went to the kindergarten to test the children after their parents were informed.

The parents of the younger children have been informed of the test results.

The older children had to undergo a second test on Thursday as part of the screening process.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria that spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. But it usually takes prolonged exposure with the infected person for it to spread.

While tuberculosis is usually associated with the lungs, it can also spread through the blood to other parts of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain.

Not everyone infected gets the disease. In many, it remains latent. But if left untreated, five to 10 per cent of those with latent tuberculosis could develop the illness in their lifetime.

Treatment involves taking drugs for a continuous six- to nine-month period.

However, should the tuberculosis be the resistant variety, a second drug needs to be taken for a longer period.

In Singapore, doctors are obliged to inform the Ministry of Health within three days of diagnosing a patient with tuberculosis.

More than 1,300 people have been diagnosed with the disease here this year.