Public Health Wales called in after outbreak of disease in village
A community tuberculosis screening exercise carried out in Llwynhendy earlier this month has identified no active cases of TB disease within the community, but 76 cases of latent TB infection.
Latent TB is not infectious and cannot be passed to other people, and people who have a latent form of TB do not need urgent treatment.
Public Health Wales, who led the screening exercise in conjunction with Hywel Dda University Health Board, has written to those individuals who were screened with the results of negative blood tests.
Meanwhile, Hywel Dda University Health Board have written to patients requiring further attention and invited them to attend a hospital outpatient clinic to discuss the results and any further tests or treatment required.
Dr Brendan Mason, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at Public Health Wales, said: “Latent TB occurs when individuals have been infected with the germ that causes TB, but do not have active TB disease.
“They are not infectious and cannot spread TB infection to others, and do not feel unwell and or have any symptoms.
“If latent TB bacteria become active in the body and multiply, the person will go from having latent TB infection to having active TB disease. For this reason, people with latent TB infection can be treated to prevent them from developing TB disease.”
More than 1400 individuals were screened during the three-day exercise held in Llwynhendy in June.
In response to high demand, one screening session was extended and an additional session provided. Screening was deferred for more than 600 individuals, who will be sent appointments by Hywel Dda University Health Board to attend for screening.
Dr Philip Kloer, Medical Director and Director of Clinical Strategy for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We would like to reassure all those people who have been screened that they will receive a letter to provide them with their results and any further action needed.
“The next steps will vary for different people, from those whose results were negative and no further action is needed, to those requiring further investigations, or those with latent (inactive) TB who will require an outpatient appointment in the coming weeks to discuss the results and treatment to prevent TB from becoming active.
“We are also organising additional screening clinics for those who require screening and we will be in touch directly with people who have identified themselves to confirm arrangements in the coming months. We would like to thank the community for responding so positively to the call to come forward for screening.”
The screening exercise was carried out in an attempt to bring under control an ongoing outbreak of TB in Llwynhendy that Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda Health Board have been monitoring and investigating for some time.
The aim of the exercise was to identify active and latent TB cases in the Llwynhendy population so that the affected individuals can proceed to treatment and the outbreak can be brought under control.
TB is rare in Wales as a whole. Wales has the lowest rate of TB per 100,000 population compared to other regions of the UK.