Inmates struck down by TB and Norovirus at Oakwood Prison

Cases of TB and norovirus have been reported at a Midlands prison.

HMP Oakwood in Featherstone, near Wolverhampton
HMP Oakwood in Featherstone, near Wolverhampton

One inmate at HMP Oakwood, in Featherstone, is suffering from tuberculosis and ‘around 30’ have the sickness bug.

G4S, the security firm that runs the prison, confirmed the case of TB last week.

The diagnosed inmate was immediately sent to hospital for treatment of the condition which spreads through people inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the stomach, bones and nervous system.

Now, G4S has confirmed that as well as screening inmates for TB, staff are dealing with an outbreak of the sickness bug norovirus, which has already affected 30 prisoners.

The firm says it has isolated the affected inmates to try and halt the spread of the winter vomiting virus too.

The category C male prison has more than 1,600 inmates.

Deputy director for HMP Oakwood, Sean Oliver, said: “We have identified one case of tuberculosis and the prisoner affected has received treatment at hospital and since returned to prison.

“The health of our team and the prisoners in our custody is our priority and alongside our healthcare provider, Care UK, we are liaising with Public Health England and screening those who may have been in close contact with the person affected.”

Symptoms of TB, according to the NHS Choices website are: “a persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm, which may be bloody, weight loss, night sweats, a high temperature, tiredness and fatigue, loss of appetite and swellings in the neck.”

Tests to find out if someone has the illness include a chest X-ray, blood tests, and a skin test.

National advice on how to tackle the condition states: “Always cover your mouth when coughing, sneezing or laughing.

"Carefully dispose of any used tissues in a sealed plastic bag. Open windows when possible to ensure a good supply of fresh air in the areas where you spend time and avoid sleeping in the same room as other people.”

Speaking of the issue of norovirus at the prison, deputy director Oliver added: “Around 30 prisoners in one of our house blocks contracted Norovirus this week. We are working closely with the prison’s Care UK healthcare team to treat the men affected.

“In order to prevent the illness spreading further, those men who are unwell are being kept in isolation and separate from the rest of the prisoners we look after.”

Symptoms of Norovirus include sudden feelings of nausea, projectile vomiting and diarrhoea.

The news comes as last year, prisoners were taken to hospital after falling ill after taking so-called ‘legal highs’ while serving time at the prison.

Earlier this year, a report by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) stated the prison had an ‘ongoing issue’ with drones flying in mobile phones and drugs to inmates.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment.

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