|West Mid Raising Awareness of Tuberculosis|
To mark World TB Day on March 24
Anyone can be infected with tuberculosis (TB) and the sooner it’s treated the better your chances are of making a full recovery. That’s the message from the specialist TB team at West Middlesex University Hospital who are raising awareness for World TB Day (24 March).
You can meet the team from West Mid and find out more at their information stand at the Treaty Centre in Hounslow High Street on 23 March from approx 10am.
They see around 170 patients a year but say that more people should be coming forward for treatment.
Lead TB specialist nurse Faustina Annan-Addae explained: “Anyone can be infected with TB. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) over a third of the world’s population is infected with the bacteria, and ten per cent of these have the active form which causes symptoms.
“ It’s spread through the air when infected people cough, sneeze or spit. Weakened immune systems struggle to fight off the bacteria which will usually attack the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body.
“Many people have symptoms and don’t realise that it’s TB. Please see your GP if you have symptoms such as coughing, fatigue, lack of appetite, night sweats that drench the sheets, and a fever, especially if your cough lasts for more than three weeks, or if you cough up blood. They can refer you to our team and if you have TB we’ll start you on treatment without delay.
“The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances are of making a full recovery and not passing it on to others. TB is totally treatable.”
Patients follow a strict course of antibiotics and vitamin treatment. Sudesh Foneska, 35, has just completed a second course of treatment at the hospital and is having check ups to ensure he is clear of the infection.
He said: “I had a cough for about a year, I had night sweats which I thought were caused by the summer weather, and I tired easily but I was also very active, playing cricket and swimming. I was shocked when I found out because I thought I was healthy.
“I felt down and scared but had a lot of moral support from the specialist team. After a few months into my treatment I found it easier to breathe and started to eat properly. I’m trying to sleep and eat well and watch my stress levels to help my immune system. It’s better to go to your GP and find out rather than suffer. You can live a normal life during your treatment and you will get through it.”
31-year-old Samantha Hudson, from Hounslow, is free of the infection after a year of treatment followed by regular check ups and blood tests.
She said: “I’d had a persistent cough but it was a shock to get the diagnosis because I thought TB was something from the past, and it was difficult for my friends and family to know how to react.
“The team was very supportive and clear with their advice. They gave me the confidence to believe I would get better and were always there for me. I’m now trying to make sure I exercise and eat healthily to strengthen my immune system.”
The TB service at West Middlesex is available by GP referral or via A&E referral for people not registered with a doctor. It is free, available to all nationals and a translation service is available. You can meet the team and find out more at their information stand at the Treaty Centre in Hounslow High Street on 23 March from approx 10am.
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