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  1. ITV Report

76 cases of latent TB identified in community screening

Screening took place earlier this month. Credit: ITV CYMRU WALES

A mass tuberculosis (TB) screening carried out in a Welsh community has identified 76 people carrying an inactive form of the infection.

More than 1400 people were screened in Llwynhendy, Carmarthenshire earlier this month after Margaret Pegler, 64, died and 29 cases of TB were identified in an outbreak.

Latent TB is not infectious and cannot be passed to other people.

Public Health Wales, who led the screening exercise alongside Hywel Dda University Health Board, says people who have a latent form of TB do not need urgent treatment.

What is TB?

  • TB is an infection usually found in the lungs, but any part of the body can be affected.
  • Anyone can catch TB by breathing in the bacteria in tiny droplets sneezed or coughed out by someone who has TB in their lungs.
  • The most common symptom of TB is a persistent cough for more than three weeks, with spit which can sometimes be blood-stained.
  • Other symptoms can include weight loss, a high temperature, and sweating, particularly at night.

Latent TB occurs when individuals have been infected with the germ that causes TB, but do not have active TB disease.

They are not infectious and cannot spread TB infection to others, and do not feel unwell and or have any symptoms.

If latent TB bacteria become active in the body and multiply, the person will go from having latent TB infection to having active TB disease. For this reason, people with latent TB infection can be treated to prevent them from developing TB disease.

– Dr Brendan Mason, Public Health Wales

Wales has the lowest rate of TB per 100,000 population compared to other regions of the UK.