At least 30 local patients are undergoing treatment for Latent TB (a sleeping form of Tuberculosis), thanks to a successful screening programme.
The pilot has been running in 12 Peterborough city centre practices since May and health chiefs are pleased with the results so far. Over 250 patients have now undergone a simple check to find out whether they might be at risk of developing active TB.
Dr Gary Howsam, Chair and Chief Clinical Officer for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, says:, “I’m thrilled that so many of our staff have been eager to work with us in identifying and screening eligible patients, treating those who need our help, and really getting this programme off the ground despite the challenges that new initiatives can bring. The programme has shown such promise that other practices across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough now want to be involved.
“More than ever we want people to come forward if they think they are at risk of having Latent TB, so we can help them. It’s very important to know the criteria for screening, because if TB is sleeping in your body, you will feel completely fine – however you are not contagious.”
Latent TB screening is available to those who:
- are aged 16-35;
- have settled in the UK within the last 5 years;
- have lived in one of the following countries, where cases of TB are common; for example:
- East Timor
If you meet the above criteria and would like to have Latent TB screening, please speak to your GP practice receptionist to book an appointment.
Dr Howsam explains: “Latent TB screening can pick up on ‘sleeping’ forms of TB before they wake up. If sleeping TB is discovered in your body, it can be treated – and prevent you from having active TB in future.
“Local GP practices are offering this test because sleeping TB bacteria can make you very ill, if they ‘wake up’ and become active. When you hear people talking about TB this is usually what they mean. However, these bacteria can sleep in the body for many years without making you ill. So if you qualify for screening, whether you feel well or not, please do still contact your GP.
“I would urge anybody who qualifies for screening to make an appointment as soon as possible. It’s just a quick blood test and a few simple questions, which could ultimately save lives and help prevent this awful illness from spreading in our community.”
For more information about latent and active TB, you can visit the following websites: