The NHS in Birmingham will be visiting local mosques and gurdwaras to screen eligible people, who may be carrying tuberculosis (TB) without realising it.
If you are aged 16-35, were born in one of the 70 at-risk countries, including Thailand, India and the Philippines (or have spent more than six months in one of these countries) and have entered the UK within the last five years, you could be carrying TB. This is known as latent, or ‘sleeping’, TB. Latent TB can be detected by a simple blood test.
Latent TB has no symptoms and can remain dormant for years in the person’s lungs, without them knowing that they have the bacteria. The bacteria remain inactive and non-infectious, until triggered. Triggering effects can include dramatic lifestyle changes, or other illnesses, that can weaken the immune system. Once active, TB becomes contagious and, if left untreated, can be fatal.
The test will be carried out by specialist nurses and will be carried out in a private and sterile environment.
The events are taking place during February and March 2019:
- Awareness event: 22 February 2019, 11am-3pm at Birmingham Central Mosque, Belgrave Middleway, Birmingham, B12 0XS
- Awareness event: 24 February 2019, 10am-2pm at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Stratford Road, Birmingham, B11 4 LS
- Screening event: 3 March 2019, 10am-2pm at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Stratford Road, Birmingham, B11 4LS
- Screening event: 8 March 2019, 11am-3pm at Birmingham Central Mosque, Belgrave Middleway, Birmingham, B12 0XS
If anyone tests positive for latent TB, they can be treated with a course of antibiotics.
Dr Raj Ramachandram, GP and clinical lead for the local TB programme, said: “Testing for latent TB is easy, and can be done at one of the screening events or at a person’s GP practice. We are hoping by going into the local community, this will help build awareness of TB and latent TB and will also educate local people about this condition, how it can easily be tested and treated.”
For information about Latent TB visit https://www.birminghamandsolihullccg.nhs.uk/your-health/latent-tuberculosis or https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tuberculosis-tb/