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Children urged to be screened for TB following outbreak in Welsh village

More than 200 cases of an inactive form of TB have been identified Credit: PA Images

Parents of children and young people living in a village in Carmarthenshire are being urged to have them screened following an outbreak of tuberculosis.

Earlier this year, a mass screening in Llwynhendy identified 204 people carrying an inactive form of the infection.

Public Health Wales said as part of their ongoing community screening programme, they are asking children, young people and adults who may have been exposed to cases of TB within specific settings in the local community to come forward.

Screening of the infection has been taking place in the village

Dr Brendan Mason, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at Public Health Wales, said: “While we have not previously issued an explicit call for children to attend for screening, we have screened approximately 200 children as part of the exercise to date.

“A small but significant number of cases of latent TB infection have been identified in these children, and so we want to make sure we screen other children in the area who may also be affected.”

Those encouraged to come forward include customers and employees of the Joiners Arms public house in Llwynhendy between 2005 and 2018, who have not previously been identified as a contact of someone with active TB.

It said this now includes any children and young people who may have visited the pub with family or friends and potentially been exposed to an active case of TB.

It is also asking people of all ages who have been in the same room as someone with active TB, within four months before the person with TB was diagnosed and treated.

Parents or carers who believe their children are eligible to be screened are asked to call Public Health Wales.

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “Managing this outbreak is a priority for the health board and we would like to encourage those, especially parents or carers of children, who think they meet the criteria for screening to make contact.

“We understand that this time of year can be extremely busy for many people but please do not let that put you off making enquiries through the dedicated contact line.

“Our services are working hard to ensure that the screening and after care for children is as quick and easy as it can be.”

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.