About the Team
Our Tuberculosis Nurse Specialists are Neelam Mayor and Kerrie Campbell.
The contact number for the team is 01932 723752 and we can be contacted between 08.30 - 16.00 Monday to Friday. If we are not available please leave a message and we will call you back.
GPs can download a referral form to the TB service by clicking here.
Control of Tuberculosis in Hospital
As a general principle, tuberculosis should be considered in any patient in an "at risk" group who has a pleural effusion or upper lobe disease on CXR, or a persistent cough with or without haemoptysis lasting more than three weeks, especially if there is weight loss, anorexia, fever, night sweats, or malaise.
Such patients should be admitted to a single room until infectious tuberculosis has been excluded. Adult patients with, or suspected of having multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) must be nursed in a negative pressure room on Aspen ward.
Infection is almost always acquired by inhaling infective droplets coughed by a person with infectious tuberculosis of the lung. An individual who is coughing up so many Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria that they are visible by microscopy of a smear of sputum (smear positive) will be more infectious than an individual who is coughing up too few bacteria to be seen by microscopy (smear negative). The bacteria seen on microscopy are referred to as 'acid fast bacilli' or 'acid-alcohol fast bacilli' because they retain stains despite an attempt to decolonise them with acid or alcohol.
If a patient nursed on an open ward is diagnosed with infectious TB, the risk to others is small. Tuberculosis usually requires prolonged close contact for transmission of infection from person to person. Generally patients at risk are those in the same bay as the index case and in contact for longer than eight hours. Unless there is a clear clinical or socioeconomic need, people with TB should not be admitted to the hospital for diagnostic tests or care.
Pulmonary TB (and Laryngeal TB)
Patients with sputum smear positive tuberculosis are said to have 'open' pulmonary TB and should be regarded as infectious and require isolation in a single room. Patients whose bronchial washings are smear positive are less infectious unless their sputum is also smear positive or becomes so after bronchoscopy. However patients who are smear negative should also be isolated as they may be a risk to immunosuppressed contacts. Staff who are Mantoux/Interferon-Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) negative and not BCG vaccinated should not work where there is a risk of exposure to TB. (NICE 2006, amended 2016)
Those with non-pulmonary disease (ie who do not have pulmonary TB) need not be regarded as infectious, but it should be borne in mind that they may become infectious and do not need isolation unless there is an open tuberculosis wound/abscess.
Any aerosol-generated procedures (e.g. suctioning, abscess/wound irrigation) should NOT be carried out on an open ward, but in an appropriately engineered and ventilated area.
Patients with atypical mycobacterial infections
Patients with atypical mycobacterial infections need NOT be regarded as infectious and do not need to be isolated or notified to the Consultant in Communicable Disease Control (CCDC).