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East Ham MP Stephen Timms joins in the fight against TB

PUBLISHED: 09:37 24 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:37 24 February 2016

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According to figures from Public Health England last year, Newham has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis (TB) infection in the country.

The borough’s level of tuberculosis has previously reached 107 cases per 100,000. Public Health England considers a ‘high’ number to be more than 20 cases per 100,000 people. It is time TB was eradicated.

TB can be either active or latent. A person with active TB shows all the symptoms: a persistent cough, sometimes even coughing up blood, tiredness, fever, swollen up glands and weight loss. By contrast, a person with latent TB has the bacteria but does not show symptoms. However, latent TB can turn into active TB – both are dangerous.

Last week, I met with Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). They are responsible for NHS Services, including ones to fight TB, in our borough.

I am pleased to hear there are two key ways to prevent TB in both children and adults. If you know someone who has had TB, or are worried about your children catching TB, I strongly urge you to consider these two options.

Firstly, TB screening will prevent active and latent tuberculosis in adults and children. This is when a person is tested for the presence of the bacteria in the body. All GP practices and major pharmacies in Newham do TB screening.

Secondly, children can be vaccinated against TB. A vaccination triggers the immune system so that the body is able to fight off any future infection. Children can get the tuberculosis vaccination, called a BCG vaccination.

If you are worried about your child contracting TB, please speak to your GP about the BCG vaccination.

Please consider screening and vaccinating against TB so we can end tuberculosis in Newham for good. More from Stephen

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