Disease warning after fatal Victorian-era illness outbreak at UK university – one dead

CDC explains how tuberculosis can be transmitted

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The outbreak of tuberculosis (TB) has so far infected three people who came into close contact with the person who died from the disease in October 2021.

The student was enrolled at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and was a resident of its Lampeter campus in Ceredigion.

Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Ceredigion Council are now investigating the active TB cases, but have stressed that the risk to the public of contracting TB “remains relatively low”.

 

The patients are now reportedly receiving the appropriate treatment for the disease, which is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

A multi-agency outbreak control team has been working with Trinity St David to find the contacts of the three individuals, and are seeking to arrange screening for TB.

TB has the potential to be serious, but can be cured with the appropriate antibiotics. 

Wales has been undertaking community screening for TB since 2019, which persisted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Dr Brendan Mason, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said: “Following established outbreak control procedures, we have identified individuals who have had close contact with the deceased person. These close contacts have been contacted and screened for TB, three of whom have been found to have active TB.

“Our investigations have shown that the three individuals with active TB are all closely linked to the person who sadly died in October 2021. TB is difficult to transmit. It requires close and prolonged contact with an infectious individual for a person to become infected.

“Work is continuing to identify the close contacts of the three cases of active TB, all of whom will be invited for TB screening by Hywel Dda University Health Board. However, we encourage everyone to be aware of the symptoms of TB.

“If you have symptoms, we advise that you speak to your GP, who can provide you with the appropriate advice and refer you for TB screening if required.”

 

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