178 children recalled for TB tests at NUH after nurse tests positive
The National University Hospital (NUH) is recalling paediatric patients for tests after the nurse who cared for them is confirmed to have tuberculosis.
Over the next few weeks, the National University Hospital (NUH) will be recalling 178 children who had been in ward 47 since July, as one of the nurses in the ward is now confirmed to have tuberculosis (TB).
This includes 131 children under the age of two and 34 who have received a transplanted organ; the latter are on immunosuppression drugs and are at higher risk.
Associate Professor Daniel Goh, head of paediatrics at NUH, told The Straits Times that the risk of any of the children contracting TB from the nurse is "very low", especially as she had donned a mask while working.
Still, the hospital is not taking any chances and is recalling patients who were under the nurse's care.
A series of X-ray, blood and skin tests will be carried out. Any child diagnosed to have caught the latent bug will be given treatment which has more than a 90 per cent chance of preventing TB. For those with TB, chances of a cure are also high with treatment.
The nurse was only confirmed to have TB last Friday. In July, she was given antibiotics for her cough by a GP, as a chest X-ray did not show that she had the bug.
When the cough persisted, she sought medical attention again last Wednesday and was given a CT scan, revealing a possible TB patch in her lung. She immediately reported it to the hospital and was tested positive for TB.
Read on to find out how one of the children's mother is reacting to this.
Crystal Lim is the mother of a two-year-old boy who stayed in ward 47 in August. Prior to this, her son had a liver transplant in October last year, which puts him at a higher risk. Crystal is definitely worried, but not angry.
She explained, "I would be angry if the hospital did not do anything and the patients started getting TB. But they are doing something."
She also understood that it was not intentional on the part of the nurse, and even wished for the doctors to help her get well.
All other staff of ward 47 have been tested negative for the disease.
Parents, how would you react if your child were one of the patients of ward 47? Tell us in the comments below.