TB rates at record low in England

NEW cases of tuberculosis (TB) in England have fallen to the lowest levels since records began in 1960, according to new data published by Public Health England (PHE).

A 44 per cent drop in new diagnoses has been recorded from a peak in 2011 to 2018 (8,280 to 4,672), with an 8.4 per cent fall in diagnoses between 2017 and 2018 alone. PHE claims a key role in driving down the rates of TB in England, working with NHS England and other partner organisations to implement the Collaborative tuberculosis strategy for England: 2015 to 2020.

Further work is needed to eliminate the disease in England. PHE reports that the most deprived 10 per cent of the population have a rate of TB more than seven times higher than the least deprived 10 per cent, and people born outside the UK have a rate 13 times higher than people born in the UK.

PHE is working towards the World Health Organisation (WHO) goal to halve TB incidence by 2025, and ultimately eliminate the disease. This includes raising awareness and tackling TB in vulnerable populations, ensuring patients successfully complete treatment, and strengthening surveillance of TB rates.

Dr Sarah Anderson, Head of TB Strategy at Public Health England, said: "It is hugely encouraging to see a continued decline in TB cases in England, which shows that the interventions we are putting in place are having an impact.

"However, TB still affects nearly 5,000 people a year in the UK and many people are simply unaware of the symptoms and impact of the disease."