Police hunt for sick TB man

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A HUNT was today on for a man who is walking the streets suffering from a highly infectious disease.

A judge agreed to a rare application which will force Gary Clayden, 46, to undergo treatment for his virulent strain of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Police now have the power to arrest the Fleetwood man and detain him in a medical isolation unit for a 28-day “sentence”.

One of his friends has just died from the disease and doctors are aware of a cluster of 12 other people who are suffering from it.

The application to District Judge Jeff Brailsford, sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, is believed to be the first of its kind brought under the Public Health and Control of Disease Act.

It means Clayden can be taken off the streets and be detained in a quarantine unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for 28 days where he can be treated.

If he does not agree to treatment, a further 28-day order will be sought.

Applying for the order on behalf of Wyre Council, Elizabeth O’Connor told the judge: “This man has been made aware of the need to co-operate as this disease can be communicated to others.”

Virus

Consultant in health protection Dr Sunil Ashraf told the hearing: “This man is coughing up germs containing the TB virus. He is an ongoing risk to those he lives with and communicates with.

“He is contagious and people in a house with him are particularly at risk of inhaling the TB organisms which can affect parts of their body like the brain and lungs.”

“He should be kept in quarantine in a hospital isolation unit where he can be encouraged to take his medication.”

Specialist TB nurse Richard Cardwell told the court he had texted Clayden to make sure he knew the court proceedings were taking place.

“It is important to take the medication over a period that means the TB bacteria does not become resistant to the antibiotics used.”

He said he had even had to try to treat Clayden on the streets of Fleetwood.

“He will disappear and not make contact, then when he is feeling ill he will come to hospital only to discharge himself.

“I know he was deeply shocked by the death of a colleague from TB.”

Granting the order, Judge Brailsford said: “I am satisfied this man is a risk to the public and his human rights are not an issue at this time.”

“This is the first time I have come across such an application and grant it because of the harm he poses to others.”