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Public reassured after TB diagnosis


11 December, 2008  

Hospital bosses in Bristol have sought to reassure people after a hospital worker contracted a strain of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

More than 250 Bristol Royal Infirmary patients and staff will be tested for the disease, as it emerged that a staff member, who has not been identified, was diagnosed with TB at the end of September.

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has sent out 264 letters to patients and staff on Monday offering a helpline number to call to arrange for a TB test.

Hospital bosses have reassured people that their risk of catching the infection is low because it is spread through prolonged exposure.

Christine Perry, director of infection prevention and control at the trust, said: “We have a duty to alert all those who have come into contact with this healthcare worker. We understand that this may cause concern but we would like to stress that the risk to these patients and staff is very small.”

TB is a serious but curable infectious disease. It can be spread by coughs and sneezing, and can affect any part of the body, but more commonly, the lungs and lymph glands.

Dr Joyshri Sarangi, consultant at the Health Protection Agency in Bristol, which is helping the trust with the screening, said: “We are offering screening as a precaution, and have followed national guidance on this extremely closely.”

Copyright Press Association 2008

Health Protection Agency