Be TB aware

19 March 2014

Anyone can be infected with tuberculosis (TB) and the sooner it’s treated the better your chances are of making a full recovery.

Anyone can be infected with tuberculosis (TB) and the sooner it’s treated the better your chances are of making a full recovery.

That’s the message from the specialist TB team at West Middlesex University Hospital who are raising awareness for World TB Day on Monday 24 March.

The TB rate in Hounslow is one of the highest in London at 75/100,000*. They see around 170 patients a year but say that more people should be coming forward for treatment.

Lead TB specialist nurse Faustina Annan-Addae explained: “Anyone can be infected with TB. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) over a third of the world’s population is infected with the bacteria, and ten per cent of these have the active form which causes symptoms.

“It’s spread through the air when infected people cough. Weakened immune systems struggle to fight off the bacteria which will usually attack the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body.

“Many people have symptoms and don’t realise that it’s TB. Please see your GP if you have symptoms such as coughing, fatigue, lack of appetite, night sweats that drench the sheets, and a fever, especially if your cough lasts for more than three weeks, or if you cough up blood. They can refer you to our team and if you have TB we’ll start you on treatment without delay.

“The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances are of making a full recovery and not passing it on to others. TB is totally treatable.”

The TB team will be providing information and advice in the Treaty Centre in Hounslow High Street on Monday 24 March between 9.30am and 4.00pm and in the main hospital atrium from 10.30am till 4.00pm.

The TB service atWest Middlesexis available by GP referral or via A&E referral for people not registered with a doctor. Treatment is free, available to all nationals and a translation service is available.

*PHE: Tuberculosis in London: annual review (2012 data)