Llwynhendy TB outbreak: Screening programme begins

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Media captionMargaret Pegler died within days of being diagnosed with TB

People who may have been exposed to tuberculosis are being asked to take part in a two-day screening programme.

It follows an outbreak in Carmarthenshire which has killed one woman, with 29 cases of TB linked to the infections in the Llanelli area.

Margaret Pegler, 64, from Llwynhendy, died just five days after being told she had the disease in September.

Screenings have begun at a pub linked to the outbreak, a health centre and Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.

Dr Brendon Mason from Public Health Wales said: “TB has been circulating at a low level in Llwynhendy for some time and our aim is to ensure that all affected individuals proceed to treatment as soon as possible so that we can halt any further spread of the disease and bring the outbreak under control.”

About 80 people have been identified as contacts with confirmed TB cases and have been sent letters asking them to attend Tuesday and Wednesday’s screening sessions.

Image caption

Staff and customers at The Joiners Arms between 2005 and 2018 have been asked to get sreened

An additional call is being issued to people who may have been exposed to TB as an adult customer or employee of the Joiners Arms in Llwynhendy between 2005 and 2018.

The pub’s owners SA Brain said it was “inevitable that several of those affected will have used the pub and mixed with others there”.

Investigations into TB infections have been going on since 2010, with the hope this screening programme can finally halt them.

What is TB?

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Image caption

In Wales, there are about 100 cases a year of tuberculosis

  • An infection usually found in the lungs, but any part of the body can be affected
  • Contagious and caught by breathing in bacteria in tiny droplets sneezed or coughed out by someone with TB in their lungs
  • The most common symptom is a persistent cough for three weeks or more
  • Treatment usually involves taking antibiotics for several months
  • While it is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated, deaths are rare if treatment is completed

Source: NHS Choices

People eligible for screening are:

  • Those who received a letter inviting them to attend
  • Adult customers and employees of the Joiners Arms between 2005 and 2018 who have not previously been identified as a contact of someone infected with TB
  • Adults who have been in the same room for more than eight hours as someone with TB, within four months before the person with TB was diagnosed and treated

PHW said anyone unsure whether they need to be tested should attend a screening session and discuss their circumstances with medical staff.

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