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Aberdeen, Scotland, UK: TB

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    Posted: October 20 2018 at 4:45am
Staff screened at ARI after porter diagnosed with contagious illness

October 20, 2018, 12:01 pm

NHS Grampian is examining staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for tuberculosis (TB) after a porter was diagnosed with the infectious disease.

The employee was recently found to be suffering with the bacterial infection, which attacks the lungs, and the health board began screening colleagues to determine whether they had caught it.

One other employee has now been found to have a “latent” form of the illness and has been prescribed antibiotics.

But the health board has stressed that the testing is a “precautionary measure” and insisted there was “no suggestion” that any patient was at risk of infection.

After the porter was diagnosed, people they came into contact with at home and work were made aware they could be at risk.

It is not known how the employee contracted the condition, which can spread to the brain and spine if untreated.

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that an individual associated with the portering team has recently been diagnosed with respiratory TB.

“TB is not particularly infectious. There is usually a low probability for this infection having been passed on to others.

“A risk assessment has been carried out to identify anyone who, as a routine precautionary measure, should be offered screening for TB.

“As a result, in addition to close household contacts of the case, screening is being offered to hospital staff who have regularly worked in the same area as the case.

“No patients require to be offered screening as none have had significant regular contact with the case.”

TB is spread through the air, but health experts say that it is “not easy” to catch as people would have to spend a lot of time with an infected person in order to contract it.

Symptoms typically include a persistent cough which lasts more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm, weight loss, night sweats, fever, fatigue and swelling in the neck.

Spokesman for the Pact patient group, Jamie Weir, said that the health body had “done the right thing” by taking a proactive approach to prevent its possible spread.

Mr Weir said: “There should be no need for the general public to worry, it is unlikely any patient will have been affected and offering screening is the right approach.”

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