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Slight drop in TB cases last year

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The number of cases of TB in the UK decreased last year, according to latest provisional figures from the Health Protection Agency.

A small decrease of 0.7%, from 8,555 to 8,496, was recorded in 2007 compared with 2006, though experts warn the number is still too high. Just under 40% of all UK cases were found in London.

Experts are calling for increased awareness into the disease to dispel common myths about TB and how it is spread. Most cases, for example, present little or no risk to others and cannot be spread by simply sitting next to an infected person.

Dr Ibrahim Abubakar, a TB expert at the HPA’s centre for infections, said: ‘The key to halting the health burden which TB causes in the UK is the prompt diagnosis and treatment of infectious cases. Improving the wider understanding of the disease and its symptoms will help achieve this.’

World TB Day, held on Monday, aimed to build public awareness and prevention of the disease.

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