The Regional Ministry of Health of the Xunta of Galicia reported a few days ago that it had detected a case of tuberculosis in a high school in Ourense. Yesterday it confirmed that it is following up the contacts of the case after 19 positive tuberculin tests were detected, which implies contact with the bacteria but not necessarily the development of the disease.
In these situations, following the indications of the Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Programmes, contacts who spend more than six hours a day should be screened (cohabitants and non-cohabitants) with the tuberculin test or the quantiferon test.
There were 19 positive contacts in whom it will be necessary to confirm whether they have latent tuberculosis infection (without signs and symptoms of active disease) or active tuberculosis (radiological involvement, clinical manifestations, etc.). In the first case, they will be able to benefit from treatment that will prevent them from developing tuberculosis in the future. In the second case, they would benefit from early TB treatment, which usually lasts six months.
In TB, when there is a delay in diagnosis, transmission is often significant, as has been the case here. Given the observed transmissions, it will probably be necessary to expand the number of contacts to be screened.
This news has nothing to do with the recent news about bovine tuberculosis in Castilla y León, as in this case it is a zoonosis affecting cattle. But both news items show that human tuberculosis and tuberculosis in cattle are still a public health problem in Spain.