A HEALTH agency urged people not to panic after it was revealed that 24 people had been exposed to a strain of the disease tuberculosis.
The information came to light after a man who had been living in Fleetwood, Gary Clayden, 46, had been ordered by magistrates to undergo treatment for the pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) to prevent others becoming infected.
As part of the hearing in Blackpool, which was held behind closed doors to protect the identity of other patients, it was revealed 24 people had been identified as being in contact with him.
Only “a small number” however were said to have displayed symptoms of the disease, according to health chiefs.
And the Health Protection Agency called on the public not to panic saying only “prolonged contact” with the patient would be needed for infection to occur.
Hugh Lamont from the agency said: “I would like the public to feel reassured that TB is not easy to catch.
“You would need to be in contact with a patient who is openly infectious and coughing up TB germs for several hours.
“This strain is also highly treatable with a course of drugs, this is not a killer strain.”
Judge Roger Lowe granted Wyre Council an order to detain Clayden for a further 28 days in an isolation unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
The hearing, held at Blackpool Magistrates Court, renewed action to force the patient to undergo a full course of treatment.
Those people identified as suffering from symptoms are now undergoing further investigation.
Anyone with concerns can contact the local TB community nurses for a screening phone (01253) 651736/7.