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TB Outbreak Confines 3,000 Staff and Students
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Almost 3,000 staff and students have been quarantined in a northeast China senior high school after 29 people contracted tuberculosis, a local health official said on Sunday.


The first student fell ill at the No. 1 Senior High School in June in Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province, city health bureau head Li Ziming said.


More students and some teachers caught the disease at the end of July, prompting the local government to deploy a medical team to prevent the spread of the disease. To date, 2,670 of the 2,859 students, teachers and staff members have received TB bacteria tests, which are being examined.


Fourteen of the 29 patients are receiving free treatment at isolation wards in the city's TB prevention and treatment hospital and 15 others are confined to the school or at home in a stable condition.


All other students, teachers and staff of the school have been confined to the campus while health tests and treatment are carried out.


The school, established in 1904, is predominantly a boarding school catering to students from rural areas. As it is a key experimental school in Liaoning, the school usually started summer vacation in early August, said an official.


However, the school postponed the summer vacation, which was scheduled to start on Saturday, due to the TB outbreak.


A report from the Ministry of Health showed that in the second quarter, TB, hepatitis B, bacillary and amoebic dysentery, measles and syphilis were the five most commonly reported epidemic diseases, accounting for 86.11 percent of total epidemic disease reports.


In east China's Jiangsu Province alone, 15,657 cases of TB were reported in the second quarter of this year, far exceeding incidences of other diseases in the province.


(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2006)

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