Extra community sessions to test people for TB will be held in Wolverhampton tomorrow (Tuesday 17 March) as part of a region wide screening programme.

A mobile screening unit will be in operation to check people for TB and blood borne viruses as part of the programme commissioned by Public Health England and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Trustees.

TB is an infection caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria which can affect any organ in the body, but most commonly the lungs.

TB is infectious when present in the lungs, but can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

Though rare, around 8,000 people develop TB in England and Wales each year, with a current rate in Wolverhampton of around 33 cases per 100,000 people. Only people who have been in prolonged contact with someone with TB are at risk of catching the disease and even then, the chances of contracting TB are very low.

It usually takes several months for symptoms to appear, and symptoms can include fever and night sweats, a persistent cough, weight loss and blood in the phlegm or spit.

The mobile screening unit will be at Wellington Road, Bilston from 9.15am to 10.45am and the Fold Street car park in Wolverhampton city centre from 11.30am to 3pm on Tuesday.

Screening will be available to members of the public as well as those from harder to reach communities, such as people living in hostels or homeless shelters and those using substance misuse services, who are typically more likely to contract TB. Nurses will also be on hand to provide a general health assessment and advice.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "Early detection and treatment of TB provides significant benefits for the individual concerned and helps prevent the virus from spreading in the community.

"I'd encourage anyone who thinks they may have some of the symptoms of TB to speak to their doctor or attend the screening clinic in Wolverhampton on Tuesday.

"It's important to stress that this screening is not taking place in response to any suspected outbreak of TB in Wolverhampton, rather it is being held to ensure that any cases are identified promptly and that patients are prescribed the right treatment to help them make a full recovery."

  • released: Monday 16 March, 2015