Health partners in Reading will be in Broad Street Mall on Friday 24 March supporting World TB Day.
South Reading Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Reading Borough Council will be in the mall between 11am and 3pm, raising awareness around sleeping tuberculosis and new entrant testing for people coming into the UK from other countries.
Dr Bu Thava, Chair of South Reading CCG, said: “We will be giving out information about sleeping TB. This infection does not make people feel sick and doesn’t have any symptoms so people can be living with it totally unaware. It can sleep in your body for years but the risk is that it can become active which will make you feel ill and infectious to other people.
Whilst the rate of TB is coming down in many European countries, it has remained high in the UK. The rates of TB in the South East of England are highest in South Reading and Slough.
Dr Thava continued: “Most of the reduction in TB is due to new antibiotics that were discovered in the 1950s. However as with all antibiotics, resistance is becoming a problem. Therefore, South Reading CCG is committed to working with NHS England to tackle the problem.
“Early detection of active TB infection and tracing those who may have been in contact is very important as well as identifying those with sleeping TB.”
Reading’s Lead Councillor for Health, Graeme Hoskin, said: “Much excellent work is being done to raise awareness of this debilitating disease, and to eradicate it with early diagnosis and treatment. However, the number of TB cases in England, and locally in Reading, is still unacceptably high. By working with our NHS partners we hope to improve awareness in affected communities and individuals.
“We are encouraging people who have entered the UK in the last five years who have previously lived in places such as South East Asia or sub-Saharan Africa to book a simple blood or skin test which is free from your local TB service. If your test shows you have sleeping TB we will give you free treatment to reduce the risk of it becoming active.”
It is important to highlight that you are at risk even if you have had a chest x-ray and it was clear and you have had a BCG vaccination as this does not protect you for life.
To book a test at the New Entrant Screening Clinic at Royal Berkshire Hospital, Craven Road, Reading, RG1 5AN please call 0118 322 6882.
Note to editors
To arrange photos and interviews at Broad Street Mall on Thursday 24 March please contact Victoria Brandon on 01865 334 640