Maths teacher held in hospital isolation with tuberculosis
A MATHS teacher from The Cathedral School remains in isolation at Townsville Hospital after contracting Tuberculosis.
Sources have told the Bulletin that students and their families who had come in contact with the male teacher and tutor were tested for the infectious disease over the weekend.
The Cathedral School on Monday issued a statement confirming the school was taking the necessary steps to address the health concern.
"The Cathedral School is following protocol as advised by the Townsville Hospital and Health Service," the statement read.
"We do not disclose any information on the health status of our staff and students.
"No further details will be released due to privacy reasons."
Townsville Hospital confirmed about half of the identified contacts had attended a follow-up appointment with the response to continue this week.
"The initial test for contacts is a skin test for exposure to tuberculosis germs," Director of Townsville Public Health Unit Dr Steven Donohue said.
"This test will be repeated after three months.
Dr Donohue did not believe any contacts had been infected and reiterated that people who had not been contacted by health services were not at risk.
"At this stage, there are no suspected additional cases of tuberculosis; however further testing will be required to definitively rule out additional cases.
Dr Donohue could not confirm how many people were being tested.
"There are a reasonable number of people, as I said, family and workplace," he said.
Townsville Hospital did not confirm that the strain of tuberculosis was 'drug-resistant'.
"We have all of the necessary drugs for tuberculosis treatment or access to them," Dr Donohue said.
"TB is a pretty slow-growing disease, so there's no immediate risk to any other person, there's only one confirmed case.
"We have quite strict protocols, you need quite close and prolonged contact with somebody to pick up tuberculosis, it's not particularly infectious."
Around seven cases of tuberculosis are diagnosed at Townsville Hospital on average each year.
He said young people were at no higher risk of developing the disease than other age groups.
"The risk to school students is probably no different effectively from any other staff member," Dr Donohue said.
"TB is not necessarily a fatal disease and it's usually only very neglected cases who haven't been treated over a number of years who could die - that's highly unusual in Australia.
"This is not the sort of thing that arises over a few days or weeks, it's usually months and years before you get to the stage where you're very, very sick and that's not the case here."
The teacher remains in isolation at The Townsville Hospital in a stable condition.