2017-12-07 19:14
Fears growing over TB in Noryangjin
By Lee Kyung-min

Fear is growing over a possible tuberculosis outbreak in Noryangjin, Seoul, after a man, 23, who attended a class with up to 500 students was later confirmed to have contracted the highly infectious disease.

Noryangjin is an area where many young people live and study to pass various state-administered exams.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), officials there are conducting chest X-rays on the possibly affected students, following an on-site inspection Nov. 30, the day after the man was confirmed to have the airborne disease.

TB is a highly contagious bacterial infection spread by breathing air an infected person has contaminated. It can quickly spread if not isolated and treated early. It generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body.

The KCDC said it would conduct the first round of tests on the students for identification of latent TB infection next week, and a second round next February.

Those with latent TB infection are not infectious and cannot spread it to others.

With only about a week left before the civil servant exam, students attending academies in the vicinity are outraged, saying they were not informed about the infected man.

“I am angry that the academy failed to notify us about the infection when our physical condition largely determines the outcome of the test,” a student preparing for the exam said.

“I only became aware of this after reading it in the news. Who would take responsibility for me when I get sick and mess up my test?”

Academy officials said they did not take measures as no health authority officials advised them.
“We have not received any direction from the company headquarters. We have no plans to make students stop coming to class.” The comment apparently reflects fear of possible financial losses following students’ possible demands for refunds.

Experts said the academies should have canceled classes, implying the health authorities might face consequences.
“The TB tests should be conducted not only on the students but also those who came into contact with them.”
The KCDC said it has no plans to issue a statement regarding the delay in informing the academies for the time being.


lkm@ktimes.com