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May 19, 2016 10:25 AM EDT

Tuberculosis Outbreak Reported In Tokyo?

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After coming into contact with an infected student last year, the metropolitan government divulged nine people are currently undergoing a treatment for tuberculosis (TB), while an additional 34 are being treated for latent TB.

The man in his 20s, came to Japan in April last year and is living in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, where the index student attends a Japanese language school.

Among those who developed symptoms were Japanese teachers, students, and several other foreign nationals, Yoshiyuki Sugishita, an official with the bureau disclosed to The Japan Times on Wednesday, May 18.

Sugishita noted that the disease has branched off since the first patient showed symptoms, however no information regarding when exactly he contracted the disease is available. Apparently, the student did not pay heed to the initial symptoms.

His ignorance of the symptoms combined with the amount of time he spent in the school's enclosed space, are the reasons why the disease escalated among the students and teacher. Sugishita said the student began showing symptoms of TB such as a nagging cough since September however, heedless of his condition, he pursued his classes.

In November, when an X-ray revealed an abnormality in his chest, the Asian student was finally diagnosed with TB, according to reports on OutbreakNewsToday.

There has been a hike in TB cases recently in Tokyo.

The bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) generally is behind the infectious disease, Tuberculosis (TB) which usually affects the lungs, and can affect other parts of the body as well. What makes the disease fatal is that most infections do not show symptoms (latent tuberculosis), and about 10% of these infections evolve to active disease which, if not treated on time, kills nearly half of those infected.

TB is infectious and can easily spread from one person to another via air, when a person infected with the disease coughs, sneezes, or even speaks. Nearby people may end up breathing in these bacteria and become infected.

Despite its deadly impact on the body of those infected with the TB bacteria, it is not hard to detect its symptoms that include night sweats, unexplained and sudden weight loss, and cough. But the deadly disease is curable with a standard 6-month course of antibiotic drugs.

Health officials have confirmed that the index student, whose identity has been held back citing privacy concerns, has finished his treatment and his condition is finally improving.

Sugishita assured that the ongoing risk of further transmission from those already diagnosed with TB has been eliminated as they have already received medical care.

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