Sun, Jul 10, 2016 - Page 3 News List

TB scare at Banciao library

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Staff at the main branch of the New Taipei City Library were screened after a man who frequented the facility was diagnosed with tuberculosis, the municipality’s Department of Health said yesterday.

Tuberculosis is the most common notifiable disease in Taiwan, with 10,601 cases reported last year alone, the department said.

While more than 100 cases of the disease are reported in the city each month, the library incident caught the department’s attention because the afflicted person was found to have frequented the facility on Guising Road in Banciao District (板橋).

The man was taken from the library to a hospital on June 26 and the department was notified of a suspected tuberculosis case on Wednesday last week, the department said, adding that the case was confirmed on Thursday last week.

In accordance with the central government’s tuberculosis control manual, the agency immediately took epidemic prevention measures, including a site investigation and disinfection measures, as well as launching a survey of the man’s friends and relatives, it said.

The department said it scheduled 167 library staff to have chest X-rays taken, adding that 137 people had undergone X-rays as of yesterday.

Only one person showed an abnormal result, but it could be from a variety of factors, the department said, adding that it would arrange for that person to go through additional examinations to clarify the nature of the abnormality, while scheduling volunteers at the library to have X-rays taken.

Tuberculosis is an airborne disease transmitted by droplets, so people who come in close contact with people who have the disease can easily be infected, the department said, adding that people who have been infected might have a 5 to 10 percent chance of the infection becoming chronic.

The department advised people who have spent more than eight hours a day at the library or accumulated up to 40 hours in the past three months to watch for symptoms such as coughing up phlegm, coughing that persists for two weeks, chest pain, loss of appetite or weight loss.

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