Fenland factory workers to undergo tests for TB after handful of staff found to have the disease

Workers at a Fenland factory are undergoing screening after a number of staff were diagnosed with TB.

Factory workers at a site in Fenland have undergone tests after a ‘handful’ of people were diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB).

Factory workers at a site in Fenland have undergone tests after a ‘handful’ of people were diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB).

Public Health England confirmed a small number of employees at the unnamed factory have been offered screening for TB incorporated into a wider healthy March campaign. This is a precautionary measure as employees may have been in contact with the disease.

The screening, which includes a health questionnaire, blood test and chest x-ray, is a routine method used to identify the infection, which can then be treated with a course of antibiotics.

Workers were due to have the screening tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday and a Fenland District Council spokesman confirmed its members had been notified of the situation and were being kept updated.

Caroline Lester, senior health protection Nurse at PHE, said: “Although TB is an infectious disease, it does not spread easily to others and requires close, prolonged contact with an infectious individual. Early detection and treatment is key to stopping the spread of the infection.

“As a precaution, all employees are being offered screening for the disease. I would like to stress that the infection is not related to the type of business and there is no evidence to suggest you can get TB from fresh produce.”

A spokesman for the factory commented: “We have been working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and are taking our responsibility to our workforce and the wider community very seriously.

“To this end, we have supported PHE in implementing screening for TB. This is part of a programme of events promoting a healthy lifestyle throughout the month of March.”

Four years ago Produce World in Chatteris was the centre of a minor outbreak and its staff were offered screening, but a spokesman for Public Health England said the firm was not involved in this latest case.

Last year it was revealed a student at the Neale-Wade Academy in March had been treated for the illness and that their close friends had been tested.

Further general information on TB can be obtained at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Tuberculosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx or www.tbalert.org

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