TB alert at top opera house

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Glyndebourne opera house has fallen victim to a tuberculosis alert, it emerged yesterday.

The local health authority demanded that more than 200 members of the opera house staff be tested for TB last week after five employees contracted the disease in three years.

A Glyndebourne spokeswoman insisted the scare had not thrown the company into disarray. "The five TB cases we have had are all completely in the clear now, and all are back at work. The testing was something the health authority recommended as a precaution. Tests have shown that no one else has the disease," she said.

"The season will open as expected on 17 May. This incident won't affect us at all. As far as we're concerned it was a routine health and safety initiative."

The TB cases were all members of the seasonal staff, working only during the summer months when the theatre is open. No singers were affected.

The Glyndebourne opera house stands in the grounds of a stately home in East Sussex and is an unlikely setting for an outbreak of TB - a disease traditionally associated with poor living conditions and poverty.

Dr Angela Iveson, public health consultant at East Sussex Health Authority, said yesterday: "Nobody there has TB at the moment, but we are making absolutely sure that the contact-tracing is complete."