TB Factory Workers - 2 Infected & Treated
13 June 2014, 14:16
After a TB scare in the Fens earlier this year - Public Health England (PHE) say they now have the results back after screening more than 500 factory workers.
Heart's learned two people have been identified with active tuberculosis and are now being treated for it and are no longer infectious.
PHE say 147 people who required further testing for the latent form of TB (LTBI), which is not infectious or harmful and most people who have latent TB infection will never develop TB disease. In these people, the TB bacteria remain inactive for a lifetime without causing disease. They do not have any signs or symptoms of TB and are not infectious to others
LTBI is more common amongst those who have lived in countries with high rates of TB and is also more common in older age groups. Any individual who has been identified with LTBI will be individually assessed to see if they would benefit from treatment.
Dr Kate King, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE's Anglia 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 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. 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 added:
"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 in Chatteris, 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."