Wales

Llwynhendy TB outbreak: 76 people have 'latent' infection

Long queue of people waitingf or TB screening outside
Image caption Screening was carried out at venues such as Parc y Scarlets to cope with the numbers

A mass screening carried out after a woman died from tuberculosis (TB) has identified 76 people carrying an inactive form of the infection.

More than 1,400 people were tested in Llwynhendy, Carmarthenshire, after Margaret Pegler, 64, died and 29 cases of TB were identified in an outbreak.

The exercise found the cases of latent TB, which is not infectious and cannot be passed on.

Hywel Dda health board is inviting those affected to attend a clinic.

People can be treated to prevent them from developing the active form of TB, which is communicable.

A further 600 people in Carmarthenshire are due to be screened for the disease.

Image copyright Jonathan Pegler
Image caption Margaret Pegler (right) ,with her twin sister Elizabeth, enjoyed life to the full, her family said

Dr Brendan Mason, consultant in communicable diseases 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."

Mrs Pegler died in September, five days after being told she had the disease. She had developed a persistent cough and night sweats three months earlier.

What is TB?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In Wales, there are about 100 cases a year of tuberculosis
  • An infection usually found in the lungs, but any part of the body can be affected
  • It is contagious and caught by breathing in the bacteria in tiny droplets sneezed or coughed out by someone with TB in their lungs
  • The most common symptom is a persistent cough for three weeks or more
  • Treatment usually involves taking antibiotics for several months
  • Can be fatal if left untreated, but deaths are rare if treatment is completed

Source: NHS Choices

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