Public health officials are investigating an outbreak of tuberculosis at a Birmingham school, after 30 pupils tested positive for the infectious disease.
All pupils at Birchfield Independent School for Girls, in Beacon Hill, Aston, were screened after a girl and one of her relatives contracted TB last summer. But the school, which teaches an Islamic curriculum, decided to screen its 200 pupils in February.
A spokesman for Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust confirmed two more girls developed the infectious form of the disease, prompting the school and health officials to test all pupils this month. He said: "Thirty children returned positive skin tests."
The girls are awaiting X-ray screening to determine the extent of the infection and will be treated at Birmingham Chest Clinic and the Birmingham Children's Hospital.
The PCT spokesman added there was no reason for the wider community to be alarmed and those who have been in close contact will be screened for the infection.
None of the girls have attended school since the skin tests. Pupils who have developed the disease will undergo antibiotics.
The school, which sent letters to pupils' parents this week, confirmed the outbreak but refused to comment further.
A Health Protection Agency spokeswoman urged parents not to panic, as "testing positive for TB and developing the disease are not the same thing".
TB is caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis, which can attack any part of the body but usually targets the lungs. It is airborne, often spread when infected patient coughs or sneezes.
The bacteria only becomes active if the immune system cannot stop it from growing, usually when weakened in some other way.