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TB scare prompts public meeting

RESIDENTS and staff at a home for people with learning disabilities have been reassured following confirmation that a woman in her fifties has been diagnosed with TB.

She is a resident of Toomer House, Wingham, near Canterbury, and was cared for by a Canterbury College student who was found to have the disease last month.

At a public meeting in the village yesterday, it was revealed that another Toomer House resident, who died in November, 2001, might have had TB.

Both the woman and the student are now being treated with antibiotics. The woman is in isolation and the student is no longer infectious.

Dr Mathi Chandrakumar, clinical director of communicable disease control for Kent, told the public meeting that the student, a young man, worked part-time at Toomer House.

"It is unusual to get TB in young people," Dr Chandrakumar said. When he was notified of the TB case at the same home where the student worked and heard about the other possible case he decided to call a meeting to explain about the disease.

"The death was put down to a lung abscess but when we looked again at the case notes it is probable that it was TB but we just don't know," he said.

All staff at the home and those who worked there as far back as 1998, along with all residents and those of a day centre visited by the woman will be screened for TB.

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