TB cases are the lowest in county

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THE Wigan borough has the lowest number of tuberculosis cases in Greater Manchester.

Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust reported just 14 cases of the infection from April 2010 to 2011.

While there were 18 cases between April 2009 to March 2010, there was an average of just 12 cases the previous year, equating to 3.8 per 100,000 population for 2007 to 2009, making Wigan the lowest out of the 10 authorities.

Manchester has the highest number of tuberculosis cases at 39.1 per 100,000 per year with Bolton coming second at 25.6 per 100,000 per year and Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale third at 23.3 per 100,000 per year.

Wigan consultant in Public Health Paul Turner said: “TB is not easily acquired, it is far less infectious than the influenza virus.

“The majority of cases occur in households where somebody already has undiagnosed TB. Therefore, the individual risk of a resident of Wigan borough acquiring TB is very low indeed.

“That having been said, we are not complacent.

“When a case of TB is diagnosed, it is vital that all contacts of the case are traced and, if necessary, treated. This is the main means by which TB is controlled”.

Two components make up the local service - those diagnosed with TB are investigated and undertake treatment by a hospital respiratory consultant and a nurse-led community TB service monitors cases and traces contacts of those newly diagnosed with TB.

A simple skin test (Mantoux Test) is performed to determine whether a person has been infected.

The condition is treated with a six-month course of antibiotics which is needed to fight the infection.