Health chiefs offer screening to Peterborough residents after spike in infection

Health
Health

Health professionals will be in Peterborough city centre this weekend to raise awareness of Latent TB infection and explain what patients can do if they think they might be eligible for screening for the condition.

At least 350 patients have already undergone a simple check to find out whether they might be at risk of developing active TB, thanks to a successful local screening programme that has now been running for almost a year.

At least 40 local patients have so far received treatment for Latent TB (a sleeping form of Tuberculosis) as part of this programme, too.

Now Dr Nicola Wright, the local GP lead for Latent TB, will be stationed outside Boots in Queensgate along with TB nurses on Saturday, March 25 to provide further guidance and advice.

Dr Wright, GP lead for Latent TB at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We’re so pleased that the hard work of our GP practices is paying off, and that we’ve been able to identify and treat so many patients to date.

“With World TB Day taking place on Friday, March 24, this weekend is an ideal opportunity to get out into the community and talk to others about whether they might be eligible for screening, and what prospective patients can do.

“We want to help anyone who thinks they could be at risk of having Latent TB. It’s important to know the criteria for screening, because if TB is sleeping in your body you will feel completely fine; however, you are not contagious.”

Latent TB screening is available to those who:

. are aged 16-35

. have settled in the UK within the last 5 years

. have lived in one of the following countries where cases of TB are common:

Afghanistan

Cambodia

East Timor

India

Kenya

Nigeria

Pakistan

Zimbabwe.

Dr Wright added: “Latent TB screening can pick up on ‘sleeping’ forms of TB before they wake up. If sleeping TB is discovered in your body it can be treated and prevent you from having active TB in future.

“Local GP practices are offering this test because sleeping TB bacteria can make you very ill if they ‘wake up’ and become active.

“When you hear people talking about TB this is usually what they mean. However, these bacteria can sleep in the body for many years without making you ill.

“So if you fit the screening criteria, whether you feel well or not, please come and see us or register with your local GP. Together we can help prevent the spread of this life-threatening illness.”

The Latent TB team will be on site from 9am-6pm this Saturday, with the nearby Westgate Surgery in Boots taking blood samples from 9am-5pm for patients who wish to register and get screened on the day.

For more information about latent and active TB, you can visit the following websites:

www.thetruthabouttb.org/latent-tb

www.nhs.uk/conditions/tuberculosis