Patients recalled for tuberculosis tests after death at South Yorkshire hospital

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PATIENTS at a South Yorkshire hospital have been offered a test for tuberculosis after another patient died with a form of the disease.

Staff at Rotherham Hospital say they have offered the tests as a ‘precautionary measure’, after a patient was confirmed to have ‘the active form’ of TB.

Hospital bosses said ‘a small number’ of patients, as well as ‘close contacts’ of deceased, have been traced and recalled to the hospital for testing - and ward staff have been warned to look out for signs and symptoms.

George Thomson, medical director at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “At this stage no further individuals have been identified who need to be offered screening.

“We know TB exists in our communities and so we should all be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease.

“Symptoms of TB of the lung include a cough - lasting for more than two weeks and sometimes with blood-streaked sputum - shortness of breath, loss of appetite and weight loss, fever and sweating and extreme fatigue and tiredness.

“Anyone who thinks they may be affected by these symptoms should contact their GP.”

TB can affect several parts of the body, but usually presents in the lungs and is spread by coughing. Between 300 and 400 people die from TB in the UK every year.

A spokeswoman for the trust said the patient who died had ‘the active form’ of TB - but said doctors had not yet ascertained whether the disease was responsible for the death.

She said: “It is important to be aware that any possible infection risk is low.

“TB does not spread easily and tends to be passed on only after prolonged close contact with an infectious person who has TB of the lung.

“In most cases, TB is curable when treated with a course of special antibiotics.”

The hospital has not identified the patient, or detailed when they had been admitted to hospital or when they died.

People most at risk from TB are those who misuse drugs or alcohol, people living in poor accommodation and those with other conditions.