World TB Day took place on Saturday 24 March, helping to raise public awareness on the serious impact that tuberculosis (TB) can have on a person’s health.
Brent CCG and Brent Council held a stall at the entrance to the Brent Civic Centre to showcase some of the important work we are doing to combat TB in our borough.
This included information about our latent TB screening service that is available to patients visiting their GP surgery. Latent TB doesn’t have any symptoms but it could develop into active TB at a later stage. Regions with high rates of TB include Sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa and Southeast Asia, so people coming to the UK from these areas should consider testing for latent TB, especially if they have not been screened for TB in the past. We also handed out leaflets about the symptoms of active TB, highlighting that local residents should see their GP immediately if they experience any signs of the disease.
What is TB?
- TB is spread by breathing in tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of someone already infected by the disease.
- It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the stomach glands, bones and nervous system.
- Symptoms of active TB include a persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks, coughing up blood, a high temperature and night sweats.
- In our borough, over 1,000 people have been tested for latent TB since 2016, a form of TB where the immune system can't kill the bacteria, but manages to prevent it spreading in the body.
Dr Ethie Kong, Chair of NHS Brent CCG, said:
“World TB Day is an important opportunity to highlight the devastating effects of the disease if left untreated.
“The number of people affected has dropped in recent years but London still has the highest TB rate of any city in Western Europe. Here at NHS Brent CCG we are determined that our local population receives the best possible prevention and treatment for the condition.
“There is still a lot of stigma around TB but it is treatable with antibiotics and importantly is a free service.”
For further information about the symptoms, causes and treatment for TB, please visit the NHS Choices website atwww.nhs.uk/conditions/tuberculosis-tb/. You can also find information about latent TB on The Truth About TB website at www.thetruthabouttb.org/latent-tb/