Three people diagnosed with tuberculosis after student dies of disease at Welsh university

·2-min read
The student died of the disease in October 2021 (File image shows TB cells)  (PA Media)
The student died of the disease in October 2021 (File image shows TB cells) (PA Media)

Three people have been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) after coming into close contact with a student who died of the disease in a Welsh town.

Public Health Wales have launched an investigation after reports of “active TB” cases in individuals who were in contact with the student at the University of Wales St David.

All three cases are “closely linked” to the student, who died in October 2021. He was a resident of the University’s Lampeter campus in Ceredigion.

The patients are now receiving appropriate treatment for the disease, ITV reports. Hywel Dda University Health Board and Ceredigion Council are also investigating the cases.

Trinity St David is working with a multi-agency outbreak control team to establish contacts of the three individuals and arrange TB screening.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. It is a potentially serious disease but can be cured through treatment with the right antibiotics.

Symptoms include a persistent cough lasting more than three weeks, weight loss and night sweats.

In 2020, 4,125 people were diagnosed with TB in England, according to government statistics. It marked a 13.1 per cent decline compared with 2019.

Public Health Wales said the risk to the wider public was low.

Dr Brendan Mason, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said: “Following established outbreak control procedures, we have identified individuals who have had close contact with the deceased person. These close contacts have been contacted and screened for TB, three of whom have been found to have active TB.

“Our investigations have shown that the three individuals with active TB are all closely linked to the person who sadly died in October 2021. TB is difficult to transmit. It requires close and prolonged contact with an infectious individual for a person to become infected.

"Therefore, the university community and local residents can be reassured that the risk to the general public is extremely low. We have identified all the close contacts of the deceased person and they are receiving the necessary TB screening and follow up.

"Work is continuing to identify the close contacts of the three cases of active TB, all of whom will be invited for TB screening by Hywel Dda University Health Board. However, we encourage everyone to be aware of the symptoms of TB.

"If you have symptoms, we advise that you speak to your GP, who can provide you with the appropriate advice and refer you for TB screening if required.”

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