Melbourne Girls Grammar reports TB case

Melbourne Girls Grammar families are on alert after being informed of a tuberculosis case at the South Yarra school.

Parents were informed on Friday that "a person associated with year 12" had recently been diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, or TB.

Melbourne Girls Grammar has reported a TB case.Credit:Chris Hopkins

"You are one of a number of people we are contacting to advise that your child may have been exposed to tuberculosis and to offer appropriate testing," the Victorian Tuberculosis Program told some families.

TB is a bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs. It is rare in Australia and vaccination is not routinely recommended.

There are just over 1000 cases diagnosed in the country each year, with about 400 of those in Victoria, the letter stated.

Melbourne Girls Grammar, a day and boarding school, held classes for year 12 students in the first few weeks of term 3 before switching to remote learning in early August to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Close contacts of the TB case have been asked to attend a webinar on Wednesday, and are being advised to test for TB many weeks from now.

Families were assured that only between five and 10 per cent of people who are infected go on to develop active TB, often many years later.

Symptoms of active TB include a cough for more than three weeks, fever, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue and coughing up blood, according to the fact sheet sent to parents.

It can be spread through the air when a person with active TB disease in the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes or sings. Active TB can be treated with specialised antibiotics.

Tuberculosis vaccine Credit:Getty Images

Families were assured TB is not highly contagious and "to be infected you usually need close, face to face contact over many hours with someone with active disease in the lungs or throat."

People who have been infected after they have been in contact with a TB case can be given preventative treatment, or X-ray follow-up, the letter states.

Melbourne Girls Grammar is a K-12 school that charges almost $37,000 for year 12 students. It did not respond to a request for comment.

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