NHS Tayside hosted information sessions in Dundee to support World Tuberculosis Day (Sunday, 24 March).
Events took place at the Overgate Shopping Centre and at Dundee University to promote awareness of the disease and highlight how everyone can play their part in helping tackle Tuberculosis (TB).
Senior specialist nurse in health protection Margaret Ramsay said, “TB is an infectious disease which can affect any part of the body but usually affects the lungs.
“The infection is passed from person-to-person through secretions and droplets which are inhaled, for example from coughing. It is important to be aware that sharing cups, cutlery, etc. does not pass it on.
“The Health Protection Team works in partnership with services in Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary to identify new cases of TB and support patients throughout their treatment plan. We also focus on tracing any contacts of the person infected with TB to offer them advice and testing if needed to ensure they are not also affected.”
TB is a treatable infection which can be cured but it continues to be a challenging illness worldwide with more than 1.8 billion people infected, equal to around one third of the world’s population. In 2017 an estimated 1.6 million people died from TB infection making it a leading cause of infectious disease worldwide.
Although the incidence of TB in the UK has greatly reduced over the years, health services continue to see people who have TB both nationally across Scotland and locally within Tayside.
Signs and symptoms of TB:
- a cough, lasting three weeks or more – with or without sputum (phlegm)
- coughing up of blood
- fevers or night sweats
- unexplained loss of weight, or in children, failure to gain weight
- constant tiredness and lethargy
- unexplained breathlessness
- loss of appetite
- in children, tuberculosis can cause a range of vague symptoms including behaviour change