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Hospital declares robust plan in pace to prevent new TB outbreak

Thursday 22nd November 2018
A hospital trust has said it is working to ensure its environment is sterile and safe after a tuberculosis outbreak.
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An NHS Trust has said it has a "robust plan" in place to protect against any possible occurrence of a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust recently revealed a member of its staff contracted TB from one patient and passed it on to another. It did not disclose which hospital the incident occurred at.

However, the outbreak appears to have been a very minor one, as 321 of the 745 patients and staff contacted over the incident have been screened and the trust noted no "active cases" have been identified. 

Indeed, the incident was an unusual one, because normally TB can only be contracted after prolonged close contact with a sufferer. The trust said the strain of the disease is not "routinely" seen in UK hospitals.

The trust was obliged to declare a serious incident under health and safety law, but it has emphasised that the cases were not due to any failings in hygiene or sterilisation practices.

In a statement, the trust stated: "Transmission of the infection was not linked to any deficiencies in care and our management of this incident has received the support of both Public Health England and the TB centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

"We have robust plans in place to deal with these issues and help prevent further cases."

TB was a common disease in the UK until the mid-20th century, and often proved to be fatal. However, the development of antibiotics has meant it is now fairly easy to treat. In addition, children can be inoculated against it with the BCG vaccination. 

However, cases are sometimes seen in the UK as a result of people entering the UK who have contracted the virus overseas.

The NHS notes that high-risk regions include west and sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-east Asia, the western Pacific area, Russia, China and South America.

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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