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EDITIONS
Friday, 6 December, 2002, 09:31 GMT
TB kills pub regulars
Lord Darnley
Five people were affected at the Glasgow pub
Two men have died after contracting tuberculosis in a Glasgow pub, health officials have confirmed.

Five people were diagnosed with the disease after a cluster of cases which has been traced back to a former barmaid.

A total of 170 staff and regulars of the Lord Darnley pub have been screened by Greater Glasgow Health Board and one man is still being treated in hospital.


For the general public, the day-to-day contact with any individual who is coughing or spitting presents a minimal risk

Dr Jim McMenamin, Greater Glasgow NHS Board
However, officials have stressed that there is little chance of the disease spreading further - and rejected suggestions of a cover-up.

TB is caused by a bacterium which usually affects the chest and can be caught from someone else's cough.

The first case of tuberculosis came to light in March, when a barmaid at the bar in the Pollokshields area of the city was confirmed as having the disease. She has now made a full recovery.

Since then 170 staff and regulars have been screened by Greater Glasgow Health Board.

This programme diagnosed a further four cases.

Full recovery

Eddie Weldon, 74, and John Calderwood, 56, who were both customers, died of illnesses related to the infection in May and September.

A third customer is still in hospital, but is responding well to treatment, while the fourth made a full recovery.

Testing was also offered to people in nearby pubs, but no other cases have emerged so far.

Dr Jim McMenamin, consultant in Public Health Medicine for Greater Glasgow NHS Board, said that there were about 400 cases of TB every year in Scotland - with up to 45% centred on the Glasgow area.

An estimated 10% of patients die.


We have been checked over by health visitors who have been excellent

Liz Lorimer
Pub manageress
Dr McMenamin told BBC Radio Scotland that it was "comparatively uncommon" for a cluster to be associated with a pub.

He said: "For the general public, the day-to-day contact with any individual who is coughing or spitting presents a minimal risk.

"Even for those people who have been passing through that pub, it would be a very minimal contact that they would have and there would be a minimal risk."

Dr McMenamin said it was "relatively difficult" to transmit TB unless someone was in very close proximity for a long time.

"If you look at a programme like Cheers on the television, when you have someone who is always in the pub, that is the kind of person who would be targeted.

Routine screening

"These people would appear, from our results, to be the most at risk."

He said that testing had revealed the same strain in the Glasgow cases.

He said no other cases had emerged since, but routine screening and monitoring of regulars and staff would continue.

"This process takes several months, given the long incubation period of the illness."

'No risk'

Scottish National Party health spokeswoman Nicola Sturgeon said the public should have been told about the outbreak sooner.

But Dr McMenamin rejected claims of secrecy - and said programmes for dealing with infectious diseases were tailored to the specific circumstances of the case.

Liz Lorimer, the manageress of the pub in the city's Albert Drive, said there was no risk to any customers.

"No-one here is worried. We have been checked over by health visitors who have been excellent," she said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's John Morrison
"To contract this disease you need to have close contact, and prolonged contact"
Frank Fitzpatrick, Lord Darnley regular
"He wasn't looking well and then next thing we heard he was in the hospital"
Dr John Moore-Gillon, British Lung Foundation
"Tuberculosis has never gone away"
See also:

06 Dec 02 | Health
11 Apr 01 | Health
26 Apr 01 | Wales
24 Mar 01 | Scotland
23 Feb 01 | N Ireland
26 May 98 | In Depth
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