Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Small decrease in TB rates, but levels remain ‘unacceptably high’

  • 1 Comment

There has been a small decrease in the number of tuberculosis cases reported in the UK, according to a report from Public Health England.

A total of 7,892 cases of TB were notified in the UK in 2013, a decrease on the 8,729 cases reported in 2012.

The figures were published last week in the Public Health England’s annual TB in the UK report.

Latest figures give an incidence of 12.3 cases per every 100,000 people in the UK, one of the highest rates of TB in Western Europe.

“This small decrease can’t be seen as cause for celebration”

Lucy Thomas

As in previous years, London accounted for the highest proportion of cases in the UK, with 2,985 cases of TB, or 37.8% of UK cases.

The rate of TB among the non-UK born population (70 per 100,000) remains considerably higher than the rate in the UK born (4 per 100,000).

The majority of such cases occurred amongst settled migrants rather than new arrivals to the UK, with 85% of cases diagnosed more than two years after entry to the UK.

The overall TB rate in the UK-born population has not declined in the past decade. However, the rate in UK-born children has decreased in the past five years, suggesting some reduction in recent transmission of TB in the UK.

As in previous years, TB was concentrated among the most deprived populations, with more than two thirds (70%) of cases resident in the 40% most deprived areas. One in 10 cases having a social risk factor for TB, such as a history of homelessness, imprisonment or alcohol or drug misuse).

According to Public Health England, the small drop in TB numbers and rates in the past two years is likely to be influenced by a number of factors, including changes in migration patterns, and the impact of interventions to improve the control of TB, both in the UK and abroad.

Dr Lucy Thomas, head of TB Surveillance for Public Health England, said: “While welcome, this small decrease can’t be seen as cause for celebration when TB rates in England remain among the highest in Western Europe.

Public Health England

Paul Cosford

“Sustained reductions in TB, particularly amongst the most vulnerable groups, will require the social and economic determinants of the disease to be addressed, in addition to the provision of strong and effective public health and clinical services,” she said.

Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection and medical director for Public Health England, said a forthcoming Collaborative TB Strategy for England would aim to “significantly reduce the suffering and harm caused by this illness”.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Restart the vaccination programme in Secondary Schools.
    Vaccinate all babies at birth not just the non English, non white babies.
    Screen people from overseas or demand proof of vaccination from all overseas visitors.
    It isn't rocket science. The cost of vaccination would soon be paid by the lower levels of treatment necessary.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.