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Screening for TB at Mulberry site

Around 300 workers at a Mulberry handbag factory have been screened for tuberculosis after two colleagues tested positive for the infection.

More than 400 staff were invited for screening for the lung condition after the two workers fell ill.

Mulberry said the employees all worked at The Rookery factory in Chilcompton, near Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

"Two Mulberry employees who work at The Rookery, one of Mulberry's Somerset factories have been diagnosed with TB," the company said in a statement.

"The first was diagnosed in January 2014 and returned to work fully recovered three weeks later.

"The second employee was diagnosed in May 2014 and is due to return to work shortly.

"Mulberry has fully complied with Public Health England advice on this."

Public Health England (PHE) said as a precautionary measure TB screening was offered to more than 420 staff at the factory - with over 300 people being screened.

Dr Sarah Harrison, interim deputy director of health protection for the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset PHE Centre, said: "First and foremost, it is important to stress that TB is difficult to catch.

"It is spread from person to person when an infectious person has a cough. The people who are most at risk are those living in the same household.

"It is important to remember that TB is a curable disease which can be treated effectively with antibiotics, particularly if found early.

"Letters from Public Health England have been sent to all staff that were tested.

"Those with a positive test have been referred to local TB services for further investigation and treatment if necessary.

"The general advice is that people should contact their doctor if they are suffering from the symptoms of TB."

Those who tested positive will be referred to the specialist service for further testing with specialist respiratory physicians.

PHE said that a positive screen result did not mean they have infectious TB or TB disease. In most instances a positive result implies the presence of latent TB, the authority said.

"A positive latent TB test means that someone has had exposure to the TB bacteria at some time in their life, not necessarily through this incident," a PHE spokeswoman said.

"Positive tests could have been caused by a source case within the factory community or alternatively, there may be a previous source of exposure."

TB is a disease caused by a bacterial infection and can be treated with antibiotics.


From Belfast Telegraph