Tuberculosis Scare in Central Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -

An outbreak of tuberculosis has threatened a kindergarten in the central Israeli town of Mazkeret Batya, Ynet reported on Monday.

Parents received notification that an assistant teacher has apparently fallen victim to the potentially life-threatening disease, thereby putting all the children in her care and other staff members at risk.

About a hundred children have physical interaction during recess on the site shared by several kindergartens.

Consternation took hold of the community following the notice. “All the parents are hysterical,” one father told Ynet. “We were sent a letter, but no one knows what’s going to happen, apart from knowing that it’s a stressful illness. We’re afraid and hoping no one has been infected.”

The parents are due to take part in a meeting explaining how the highly contagious disease is contracted.

They were also requested to come to the kindergarten with their children on Tuesday for diagnostic testing.

Health Minister spokesman Eyal Bason issued a statement, saying that “the case is known to the Health Ministry. The local bureau is now preparing to give parents an explanation and to perform any necessary action following Purim.”

The much-feared often fatal disease has been contained in the West in recent years, though tuberculosis persists elsewhere. According to World Health Organization figures, in 2015, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and 1.8 million died from it. Over 95 percent of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Six countries account for 60 percent of the total, with India leading the count, followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.

Currently available treatment can stem the lethal effects, though damage to the lungs and other organs can still occur.

Tuberculosis is spread by contaminated particles released into the air through sneezing or coughing.