Tuberculosis update from The Travel Clinic Ltd Ipswich and Cambridge
Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease. Like the common cold, it spreads through the air. Only people who are sick with TB in their lungs are infectious. When infectious people cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs, known as bacilli, into the air. A person needs only to inhale a small number of these to be infected.
Left untreated, each person with active TB disease will infect on average between 10 and 15 people every year. But people infected with TB bacilli will not necessarily become sick with the disease. The immune system "walls off" the TB bacilli which, protected by a thick waxy coat, can lie dormant for years. When someone's immune system is weakened, the chances of becoming sick are greater.
- Someone in the world is newly infected with TB bacilli every second.
- Overall, one-third of the world's population is currently infected with the TB bacillus.
- 5-10% of people who are infected with TB bacilli (but who are not infected with HIV) become sick or infectious at some time during their life. People with HIV and TB infection are much more likely to develop TB.
We are having issues with our gap year students, who may not hadBCGsat school and are travelling to at risk areas unprotected against tuberculosis. They may be working in schools, orphanages or hospitals and so be at high risk. It is important to have the BCG well before travel as in many cases the BCG scar will not heal over for three or more months.
Have a consultation with your specialist nurse adviser to assess your risks if you think you may not be protected