A CORK GP has called for people who have attended South Infirmary Victoria Hospital recently to remain calm amid revelations that it is treating a patient with Tuberculosis.
Dr Declan Mathews said the hospital will deal with the case professionally and that people who have presented at SIVUH are very unlikely to contract the illness which is contagious but difficult to catch.
He described it as a very rare case.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by the germ Mycobacterium tuberculosis which usually affects the lungs but can affect other parts of the body.
In 2013, an estimated 9 million people developed TB and 1.5 million died from the disease according to the World Health Organisation. There were more than 300 cases of TB notified in Ireland in 2014.
A statement from SIVUH said that, as per the national guidelines, the staff of the Department of Public Health is undertaking a risk assessment and, in conjunction with SIVUH, a number of patients and staff who have been in close contact with this patient have been identified.
These people will be offered screening as per national guidelines.
The hospital moved to reassure the public that there is no outbreak of TB and it will continue to closely monitor the situation in association with the HSE.
“Usually these things are so low grade, the chances of someone else catching it are very slim,” said Dr Mathews.
“That doesn’t mean that SIVUH shouldn’t perform a look-back but I think it will find no one has contracted it.
“I don’t think we’re looking at an epidemic of TB in Cork again like there was in the 1950s,” he added.
Dr Mathews stated people who have attended the hospital in recent times have “absolutely no reason” for concern.
“I would trust the South Infirmary to deal with it comprehensively. It’s a good hospital, they will look into it thoroughly and advise on it.”
Dr Mathews revealed his own practise has not seen a case of TB in recent times and that he does not expect this case to lead to more.