Banham Poultry worker treated for tuberculosis

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A worker at a chicken factory in Norfolk has received treatment for tuberculosis, it has been revealed.

The case, at Banham Poultry near Attleborough, was reported to Public Health England (PHE) soon after it was discovered before Christmas.

The unnamed agency worker, who lives in Great Yarmouth, was treated successfully for the condition.

On Saturday it was revealed there had been 17 cases of TB at a food packing plant in Cambridgeshire since 2012.

Nine of the cases at the plant in Chatteris were in 2013 and there have been two cases this year.

No other details have been given about the Banham Poultry case - which is unconnected - but workers at the plant were offered screening.

Staff screened

Symptoms of TB

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria

TB develops slowly in the body and it usually takes several months for symptoms to appear. They include:

  • Fever and night sweats
  • Unexplained prolonged cough
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blood in phlegm or spit at any time

Source: PHE

PHE and TB health specialists have been working with the factory to help advise staff and stop any further transmission of the illness.

As a precaution, screening for the infection will be offered to those who have had close prolonged contact with the confirmed case, PHE said.

This is a routine method used to identify the infection, which can then be treated with a course of antibiotics.

The chicken product was unlikely to be affected and workers would need prolonged exposure in a confined space to become infected, a spokesman said.

The company declined to comment further.

Dr Giri Shankar, consultant in communicable disease control at PHE's Anglia and Essex centre, said: "Although an infectious disease, TB is not easily spread unless you have had close prolonged contact with an infected individual.

"Screening is the best way to check this and stop any further spread of the infection."

Posters and leaflets with general TB advice have been displayed in the factory and staff have received letters about the case.

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