Eleven out of nearly 100 junior-high school students in Keelung have tested positive for tuberculosis that they contracted from their teacher, health officials said yesterday.
However, the officials said that although the children tested positive, they had not developed the infectious form of the disease.
“As they are not infectious, they don’t have to wear surgical masks. They are being given a nine-month course of preventive medicine,” one of the officials said.
The official added that there is roughly a 10 percent chance of developing the disease following infection.
The teacher in question has been quarantined and treated following his diagnosis with infectious tuberculosis, the officials said.
School authorities said the teacher developed a cough in February, but dismissed it as just a cold even though it did not respond to treatment. During the intervening period, he wore a surgical mask to reduce the risk of spreading germs.
He took a leave of absence on April 25, one day after the infection was diagnosed and confirmed.
Some parents questioned what they described as the slow response of health officials, as the children were not tested until on April 29, four days after the teacher went on sick leave.
However, the officials pointed out that they needed to obtain parental consent before they could conduct the tuberculin tests, and said it took about two to three working days to get responses from all the parents.
“There was no delay in handling the matter,” the officials said.