court forces tb vic­tim to hospi­tal

Man with con­ta­gious dis­ease is or­dered to get treat­ment

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By BEN TRUSLOVE ben.truslove@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @Et­ben­truslove

A PA­TIENT suf­fer­ing from a rare form of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis has been forced to stay in hospi­tal for treat­ment to pro­tect him and the public.

A spe­cial hear­ing was held at Peter­bor­ough Mag­is­trates’ Court yes­ter­day for To­mas Balseris, of no fixed abode, who suf­fers from a drug-re­sis­tant strain of TB, known as XDR-TB.

The case was brought by Fen­land Dis­trict Coun­cil and saw a se­cu­rity guard posted on the door to pre­vent the public from en­ter­ing.

The man, who spoke through an in­ter­preter, wore a white mask over his mouth and nose and was taken away by an am­bu­lance out­side the build­ing af­ter the case.

The court or­dered that he stays in hospi­tal for the pur­poses of con­tin­ued treat­ment.

Fen­land Dis­trict Coun­cil re­fused to give de­tails of where Mr Balseris was from or how his is­sue came to its at­ten­tion but said the case was brought on be­half of the Health Pro­tec­tion Agency (HPA).

The HPA said it could not com­ment on the man’s case be­cause of pa­tient con­fi­den­tial­ity.

But Dr Kate King, com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease con­trol doc­tor at the HPA’S Nor­folk, Suf­folk and Cam­bridgeshire Health Pro­tec­tion Unit, said this was prob­a­bly the only case in her area.

She said: “The re­sis­tance doesn’t make it any more in­fec­tious but we do need to make sure a per­son gets treat­ment and take steps to pro­tect other peo­ple.

“A spe­cial­ist unit on a hospi­tal is the best place for treat­ment. If they won’t take our ad­vice then as a last re­sort we can en­force ad­mis­sion to hospi­tal.

“This strain of TB is still very rare in the UK but it is more wide- spread in some parts of the world par­tic­u­larly in east­ern Europe and the for­mer Soviet coun­tries.

“There have been per­haps a hand­ful of cases with lesser drug re­sis­tance in our area but from rec­ol­lec­tion I be­lieve this is the first of this spe­cific strain.”

A spokes­woman for the HPA added that although TB is not easy to catch pre­cau­tions were in place to pre­vent the strain spread­ing.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion is work­ing with NHS Cam­bridgeshire to of­fer screen­ing to any­one who has been in reg­u­lar and pro­longed con­tact with Mr Balseris.

Fen­land Dis­trict Coun­cil­lor Ralph Butcher, port­fo­lio holder for ru­ral af­fairs and health and well-be­ing, said he did not know the specifics.

But he added: “I’m clearly sorry to hear he has TB but I’m pleased to hear he will get treat­ment pro­tect­ing him and the public.

“But it seems strange some­body wouldn’t want treat­ment.

“When I was a child there were lots of cases and we re­ally don’t want TB to re­turn like that.”

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