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World Tuberculosis Day: Reminder for contacts in Llwynhendy TB outbreak to get screened

24 March 2022

Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) are taking the opportunity of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World TB Day to reiterate their call for people who have been contacted as part of the Llwynhendy tuberculosis (TB) outbreak to attend their screening appointments.

World TB Day is the WHO’s annual day to raise public awareness of the global public health impacts of tuberculosis, and to celebrate efforts to end TB around the world. Active TB is a serious infectious illness, but is treatable if it is identified early.

More than 2600 people have attended the ongoing community screening exercise which started in June 2019, but there are 485 people who have been identified as contacts and invited for screening who have not yet attended their appointments. 

The Outbreak Control Team (OCT), which is managing the response to the outbreak, is keen to stress how important it is that those invited for screening now come forward to attend for their appointments.

Dr Brendan Mason of Public Health Wales, Chair of the OCT, said: “We are really grateful to the Llwynhendy community for their assistance and help in coming forward to be screened in such large numbers.  It has been invaluable in helping to manage the outbreak.

“If you have been contacted in the past and asked to come for a screening appointment, now is the time to get tested.  TB is a serious illness, but diagnosing it early through screening gives us the best chance to treat it effectively, so I would urge any contacts who haven’t been in touch with us to call 0300 303 9642 to make an appointment.

“It is really important that we screen all the contacts identified and make sure that anyone diagnosed with latent or active TB gets the monitoring or treatment that they need to prevent any further spread.”

Thirty-one cases of active TB have been identified since 2010 during the outbreak. 

In addition, since 2010 in the outbreak as a whole, 303 people – or more than one in ten of those who have been screened - have been diagnosed with latent TB.  Latent TB is not infectious and does not affect people’s quality of life, but may develop into active TB at a later date.  As a result, it is important that people with latent TB are identified so that they can be monitored and receive appropriate treatment.

If you have been contacted as part of the Llwynhendy TB outbreak and asked to make an appointment for TB screening in the past, no matter how long ago, please call 0300 303 9642 to make an appointment.

Individuals with symptoms should not wait to be screened, but should seek clinical advice from their GP or NHS 111 Wales.

The symptoms of TB disease are as follows:

  • A cough which lasts for three weeks or longer, does not respond to normal medicine and keeps getting worse
  • Fever (high temperature)
  • Sweating at night so much that the bed sheets need changing
  • Loss of weight for no reason
  • Fatigue (lack of energy or extreme tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood (this is very rare but needs immediate medical advice)

For more information on TB, visit the NHS 111 Wales website here.