Carmarthenshire villagers urged to undergo TB screening after 29 confirmed cases

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Villagers are being urged to undergo screening for tuberculosis following an outbreak in West Wales that has been linked to one death.

Public Health Wales, the country’s public health agency, said there had been 29 confirmed cases of TB in the village of Llwynhendy, Carmarthenshire, since 2010.

A screening exercise will take place in June in an attempt to bring the outbreak under control, with letters due to be sent to around 80 people in the area who have been identified as having contact with people already diagnosed.

The agency has also issued an additional call to customers and employees of the village’s Joiners Arms pub between 2005 and 2018 to come forward.

On Friday a spokeswoman confirmed one death in 2018 had already been linked to the outbreak, but was unable to give further details about the case.

Public Health Wales said there was evidence suggesting there are a number of as yet unidentified active and dormant TB cases in the area, and the aim of the screening exercise was to help those potentially affected to get treatment and bring the outbreak under control.

Dr Brendan Mason, consultant in communicable disease control for 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.”

TB is an infection usually found in the lungs, but any part of the body can be affected. Anyone can catch it by breathing in the bacteria in tiny droplets sneezed or coughed out by someone who has the infection 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.

The infection is rare in Wales and in the UK as a whole, with around 100 cases notified to Public Health Wales every year, the lowest rate per 100,000 people compared to other UK regions.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Public Health Wales.