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We are incredibly lucky in the UK when it comes to infectious diseases. Effective immunisation programmes have helped to keep many diseases at bay such as polio, tetanus and even Tuberculosis (TB)

There are approximately 5,000 of cases of TB in the UK every year and most of them are caught by travelling abroad. TB causes a devastating loss of life around the world; it is estimated that TB caused the deaths of 1.5 million people in 2020. In 2021 there was a rise in cases due to a disruption of screening services because of the covid pandemic.

Infection with TB is not always obvious, symptoms for TB such as coughing and fatigue overlap other illnesses. As a result, a person with active TB may not necessarily know they are infected and spreading the bacteria. Also, it is possible to have the bacteria in your body and not show any symptoms until later in life.

The BCG vaccination used to be a part of the school immunisation service until approximately 2005, it now based on the level of risk a person has of contracting it. The World Health Organisation updates a list of countries who have the highest burden. A country with more than 40 cases per 100,000 people in its population is considered high-risk.

If you are travelling abroad you are probably wondering if you need a BCG.

makewell clinic can help you with that!

You may need a BCG if:

  • You are under 16 and plan to live with family/ friends or local people in a high-risk country for at least three months
  • If you are a healthcare worker who will be in a high-risk country and at risk of exposure to TB.

Anyone over the age of 6 years will need a Tuberculin test (Mantoux test) to assess whether they have previously been exposed to TB. Makewell can help with that too! Once administered the Mantoux test needs to be read within 48-72 hours.

Written by Jodie Convey RSCN, Clinical Development Manager, ECG Training, Thursday 10th February 2022