TB campaign launched over fears symptoms not recognised due to Covid-19
Tuberculosis (TB) is not easy to catch and tends to spread between people that have been in close proximity to each other for a long period of time. However, PHE is reminding everyone that TB still exists and to be aware of the signs and symptoms as some of these are similar to that of Covid-19:
. Persistent and gradually worsening cough
. Feeling unusually ill or tired
. Weight loss for no obvious reason
. Loss of appetite for no obvious reason
. Sweating attacks - especially at night
. Coughing up blood.
TB develops slowly in the body and it can take many months or even years for a patient to become openly infectious.
Using this year’s global theme “The Clock is Ticking” and existing resources from Stop TB Partnership, the World Health Organization (WHO) and TB Alert, PHE has been working with local councils, factories, warehouses and prisons to help raise awareness.
Despite being a preventable and curable disease TB kills approximately 4,000 people every day globally and the number of people with TB in England rose by 2.4 per cent in 2019 - the first rise in notifications in 9 years.
Dr Deepti Kumar, consultant in communicable disease control at PHE East, said: “People should be reassured that TB does not spread easily from person to person. The risk is only increased for those that have spent many hours in close contact with someone with active TB, who is openly infectious and coughing up TB germs.
“While we are all doing our best to avoid Covid-19 some people may be missing the signs and symptoms of other illnesses like TB.
“It’s very important that everyone is aware of the symptoms of TB as greater awareness can mean the condition is diagnosed much faster and treatment can begin sooner.”
For further information about TB infection and treatment you can visit the NHS website on http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Tuberculosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx.