A CHILD'S red eye was found to be a symptom of a killer disease.
The unnamed 11-year-old from the US was referred to hospital with a persistent red eye.
Despite taking several types of eye drops and antibiotics the otherwise perfectly healthy right child's eye remained red.
Reporting in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, doctors said they discovered her red eye was a symptom of latent tuberculosis (TB).
TB is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, killing roughly 1.7 million people and infecting 10 million every year.
Latent TB infection is one of the most complex forms of TB.
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Unlike with the TB disease, which presents itself with the usual TB symptoms, latent TB infection lies inactive inside the body, with the potential to trigger symptoms at any time.
Latent TB is not contagious and does not make someone who has it feel ill.
It only makes someone ill once it develops into TB disease.
Those with latent TB must take regular medication to keep the infection at bay and stop it turning into the disease.
The girl had tested positive for the latent infection six months before seeing the doctors, but had not been given any treatment.
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The red eye was a reaction to her body fighting off the infection.
Symptoms of active TB include a persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks, breathlessness, lack of appetite, weight loss and a high temperature.
The child was given prescription for a medication to treat latent TB infection, the report said.
TB cases have been creeping up in recent years – rising seven per cent last year.
The disease can be fatal if untreated, with an expert warning it "remains a serious public health issue in the UK".
England had the highest rates of TB in western Europe in 2011, but since then cases had fallen.
However due to so much focus on Covid, and people not seeking treatment for illness in the pandemic, the rates have gone up again.
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The UK Health Security Agency previously warned anyone with a cough that has lingered for more than three weeks to seek help.
Brits should not dismiss a new cough as Covid, unless they are certain, as TB could also cause this symptom.
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