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Village Residents to Get TB Screening

Photo: Google Maps

Outbreak of cases centres around local pub

People living in Llwynhendy who may have been exposed to tuberculosis are being urged to attend a TB community screening exercise run by Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Around 80 people in the Llwynhendy area who have been identified as contacts of confirmed TB cases will receive letters inviting them to be tested during the community screening programme which takes place in June.

An additional call is being issued to people who may have been exposed to TB as an adult customer or employee of the Joiners Arms public house in Llwynhendy between 2005 and 2018.

The screening exercise is an attempt to bring under control an ongoing outbreak of TB in Llwynhendy that Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda Health Board have been monitoring and investigating for some time.

Since 2010, there have been 29 cases of TB linked to the outbreak. 

There is evidence to suggest that there are a number of as yet unidentified active and latent TB cases in the Llwynhendy population associated with the outbreak.

The aim of the current screening exercise is to identify these cases so that the affected individuals can proceed to treatment and the outbreak can be brought under control.

Dr Brendan Mason, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said: “TB has been circulating at a low level in Llwynhendy for some time and our aim is to ensure that all affected individuals proceed to treatment as soon as possible so that we can halt any further spread of the disease and bring the outbreak under control.”

TB is an infection usually found in the lungs, but any part of the body can be affected. Anyone can catch TB by breathing in the bacteria in tiny droplets sneezed or coughed out by someone who has TB in their lungs.

The most common symptom of TB is a persistent cough for more than three weeks, with spit which can sometimes be blood-stained. Other symptoms can include weight loss, a high temperature, and sweating, particularly at night.

TB is rare in Wales and in the UK as a whole. Public Health Wales is notified of around 100 cases of TB each year. Wales continues to have the lowest rate of tuberculosis per 100,000 population compared to the other regions of the UK.

Dr Mason continues: “We are carrying out the screening exercise at this time to coincide with a shift in global, European and UK strategies on TB, which are now very much focused on achieving the World Health Organization target of eradicating the disease by 2035.”

“After closely monitoring and investigating the Llwynhendy outbreak for a number of years, the evidence suggests that carrying out a community screening exercise at this time is the best course of action in order to bring this outbreak under control and, ideally, eradicate the disease from the Llwynhendy area.”

The groups of people eligible to be screened are:

  • People who have received a letter inviting them to attend for screening
  • Adult customers and employees of the Joiners Arms public house in Llwynhendy between 2005 and 2018 only, who have not previously been identified as a contact of someone infected with TB
  • Adults who have been in the same room for more than 8 hours as someone with TB, within four months before the person with TB was diagnosed and treated

Screening will be carried out at the following times and locations:

  • Tuesday 4 June 2019, 8am to 10am
  • Parc y Scarlets, Maes-Ar-Ddafen Road, Llanelli SA14 9UZ
  • Tuesday 4 June 2019, 11am to 2:30pm
  • Joiners Arms, 58 Llwynhendy Road, Llanelli SA14 9HR
  • Tuesday 4 June, 4.30pm to 8pm
  • Llwynhendy Health Centre, Llywnhendy Road, Llanelli SA14 9BN
  • ·Wednesday 5 June 2019, 8am to 10am
  • Parc y Scarlets, Maes-Ar-Ddafen Road, Llanelli SA14 9UZ
  • Wednesday 5 June 2019, 11am to 3pm
  • Llwynhendy Health Centre, Llywnhendy Road, Llanelli SA14 9BN

Public Health Wales said anyone in the Llwynhendy area who is unsure whether they need to be tested for TB should attend a screening session as staff will be on hand to discuss eligibility. Individuals can also get more information on the screening exercise by calling 02920 827 627.

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