Results of TB screening at Fenland factories revealed

15:33 13 June 2014

Public Health England offered screening to factory workers. Picture: ROB MORRIS

Public Health England offered screening to factory workers. Picture: ROB MORRIS

Archant

Two cases of TB have been discovered following the screening of more than 500 staff from two Fenland factories.

Public Health England’s screening identified two people with active TB who have started medical treatment and are no longer infectious and 147 people required further testing for the latent form of TB (LTBI), which is not infectious or harmful.

Screening was carried out for TB in April after 17 people were diagnosed with the infection over a two year period.

It is not possible to determine whether any of the individuals who have been diagnosed with LTBI got the infection recently as they could have been exposed to TB at any point in their life.

Dr Kate King, consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE’s Anglia and Essex Centre, said: “I would like to stress that we called back this number of people for further assessment as a precaution.

“It doesn’t mean that they have active TB. Their blood tests showed that they have been exposed to TB at some point in their lives and could have latent TB.

“If this is the case, they are offered antibiotics to stop the infection developing and the possibility of it spreading.

“We would like to remind everyone that TB is not easily caught. It requires close, prolonged contact with an infectious individual.

“The two cases of active TB are receiving treatment and are no longer infectious. The infection didn’t originate from the factories or their type of business and there is no evidence to suggest TB transmission can occur from consumption of vegetables from the factories.

“This is more to do with a group of individuals who spend a lot of time together in close contact at work, travelling to work and sometimes living together and who have a common thread of working at the same organisation.”

Dr Liz Robin, director of Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I’m confident that the correct steps have been taken by Public Health England and the local NHS to deal with the increased number of TB cases identified at packing factories, and that the local community can be reassured.

“I’d like to thank the business and the employees for the high level of co-operation which they’ve shown by taking part in the screening.”

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