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TB case sparks hospital screening


15 July, 2008  

A hospital has asked more than 100 of its patients and staff to take tests for tuberculosis after an elderly man was found to have the disease, a chief nurse has confirmed.

The patient, who was poorly with another illness, tested positive for TB last month during treatment at Leicester’s General Hospital.

Chief Nurse Pauline Tagg said: “TB is rare and does not spread easily from person to person. It is only contagious if the patient has TB lung infection and a cough, so anybody at risk will have to have been in very close proximity to the patient over a long period of time.

“However, as a precaution we have identified 48 members of staff and 58 patients who may have been in contact with the patient, however briefly, and we have written to them asking them to consent to a blood test to screen for TB.”

The hospital is confident, she said, that everyone who was in the patient’s proximity has been identified.
 
The man contracted TB before his visit to the General, a spokeswoman said.
 
Dr Philip Monk, consultant in health protection for the Health Protection Agency East Midlands, said: “To be at risk of contracting the disease, someone must spend many hours in close contact with someone who is openly infectious and coughing up TB germs.

“For this reason it is often passed between family members. TB is entirely curable with a full course of treatment.”
 
Copyright PA Business 2008
 
Leicester General Hospital