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Every year, March 24th is marked by World TB Day, which aims to raise awareness of tuberculosis, an epidemic that causes the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries.
TB is a potentially lethal infection caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis, and World TB Day commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.
The theme of this year is to ‘reach the missing 3 million’, as of the nine million people a year who get sick with TB, a third of them are ‘missed’ by public health systems.
For those who are at risk of contracting TB (people who work in the healthcare professions, who have been in contact with someone suffering from TB, or have been travelling to and from countries with a high level of TB) YourGP can provide screening tools for TB, including the following:
The Mantoux test is a small injection inserted by the Dr just below the skin of your forearm, after which you will have to return to the clinic exactly two days later for us to ‘read’ the reaction.
If your Mantoux test is negative, you will be given your BCG vaccination, which gives between 70%-80% protection against the disease.
In the UK, the BCG vaccine used to be given to the general population during childhood to protect against TB, however this is no longer the case.
Although it is no longer part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination schedule, BCG vaccination is still recommended for children and adults who have an increased risk of developing TB, and at YourGP, we offer the vaccine to anyone from birth who needs it.
If your Mantoux test comes back positive then you will need to go for a chest X-ray, which we can, at short notice, organise with the Edinburgh Clinic or at the Spire Murrayfield private hospital.
Many immigration visas and international university applications ask for confirmation of no TB infection, and recently, an increasing number of companies are sending their employees to YourGP for the Mantoux test and to see if they need a BCG.
If you represent a company, we can advise you on the best approach to employee vaccinations.
For more information on TB, call us on 0131 225 5656 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
I just want to thank you for listening to me. When you are visiting the UK it can be worrying when you are unwell. You put me at ease and gave me the medical attention I needed.