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Rates of TB infection plateau

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Rates of TB infection across the UK have begun to plateau but the number of reported cases is still too high, according to the Health Protection Agency.

HPA figures released today show there were 8,417 reported cases of TB in the UK in 2007, a small decline of 0.9% on the 8,495 reported cases in 2006.

Although TB levels among the UK population remain low, rates remain high in inner cities with London alone accounting for 39% of cases, the agency said.

Dr Ibrahim Abubakar, head of the TB section at the HPA’s centre for infections, said: ‘While the apparent stabilisation of TB incidence in the UK is encouraging, rates remain at their highest since the late 1980s, and efforts to control and accelerate the downward trend must be kept up.

‘TB is a preventable and treatable condition, but if left untreated it can be life threatening. The key to reducing levels of TB is early diagnosis and treatment,’ he added.

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