19 Mar 2009

200 to be screened for TB in Wellington region

6:45 pm on 19 March 2009

About 200 people in the Wellington region must be screened for tuberculosis after they unknowingly came into contact with an infected person who is a health care worker.

The Ministry of Health is investigating how the infected employee was allowed to work in two Wellington hospitals and four residential care facilities.

Wellington Regional Public Health says the employee worked at Wellington and Kenepuru hospitals and the residential care facilities from December 2008 until March this year.

Regional medical officer of health Margot McLean says the likelihood of anyone contracting tuberculosis is low, but all employees should be screened before they are allowed to work.

Dr McLean says though TB is a dangerous disease, it is not easily spread and can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

The Capital and Coast District Health Board says it has suspended TLC Recruitment Solutions, the agency which supplied the infected worker, pending further inquiries.

The TB scare follows another in Rotorua, where 25 people will be screened after a Western Heights High School student was diagnosed with the disease.