PRISONERS have been tested for tuberculosis after an inmate was found to have the disease.
The Health Protection Agency, along with NHS Leicestershire County and Rutland, have carried out two screenings of about 100 inmates and staff members at Stocken Prison, after an inmate was found to have open TB.
The results of the second round of screening found that 18 inmates had been exposed to the TB germ at some point and they will need more tests to find out if they have the open form of the disease.
No staff have contracted the disease, which is a germ disease that normally affects the lungs.
It develops slowly and usually takes several months for symptoms to appear.
Dr Philip Monk, consultant in communicable disease control for the Health Protection Agency, said it was not possible to find out how the exposure to the disease occurred.
He said: “Exposure to the TB germ does not mean an individual will go on to develop open TB but it is important that people who have been exposed to the germ are identified so that they can receive treatment to stop them developing it.
“Although TB is an infectious disease prolonged contact with an infected individual is usually required for others to be infected.
“People can be reassured that TB is fully treatable and curable with a course of specific antibiotics. People are usually non infectious after two weeks of treatment.”
A Prison Service spokesman said: “The Prison Service takes the health of prisoners and staff very seriously.
“In any instance of communicable disease within one of HM Prisons, the Prison Service works closely with the Health Protection Agency to instigate procedures to control and treat the situation speedily and efficiently.”