PUPILS at a Harrow secondary school will be screened for tuberculosis after a child was diagnosed with the contagious disease.
But concerned parents whose children attend Whitmore High School in Porlock Avenue are outraged only some received letters explaining a year 11 student was carrying the airborne bacteria.
The teenager, who would have just sat GSCE exams, was diagnosed earlier last month and was treated at Northwick Park Hospital in Watford Road, Harrow. The youth is no longer infected.
However, health authorities have advised the school to test pupils and teachers who came into contact with the person as a precaution.
One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "One of my kids came home and said she had heard her friends in the playground talking about a pupil who had TB. They said the child had been coughing and coughing in class.
"We then found out that only some letters had been sent home. The school should have alerted everyone rather than those just concerned and all pupils should be screened just in case."
TB is a bacterial infection which can affect any part of the body although it is commonly known as a lung disease.
Common symptoms include a persistent cough, coughing up blood, high fever and weight loss.
It is curable with a course of medication which the infected person should take for at least six months.
The disease has increased in the UK in the past decade even though pupils are now given a BCG vaccination. In 2007 there were 121 notified cases of TB in Harrow compared with 99 in 2004.
Tina Harrison, spokeswoman for charity TB Alert, said: "The main thing to remember is that TB is a curable disease.
"It is also much more difficult to catch than most people believe. Several hours of close prolonged exposure is usually needed to be at risk and then most people's immune systems will fight off the infection successfully."
Every day at least one person in the UK will die of TB. Old age, ill-health and poor nutrition can lead to a person being infected.
Councillor Anjana Patel (Conservative), responsible for schools and children's development, said: "As a result of this isolated case we have been advised by the health authorities that, although the risk of any other pupil at the school being infected is extremely small, as a precaution we will be testing the classmates and teachers that would have come into close and prolonged contact with the pupil."
Any concerned parents can call 020 8327 7181 for more information.