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Report shows increase in tuberculosis cases in Merseyside and Cheshire
1:34pm Wednesday 21st August 2013 in News
NEW figures show the number of reported cases of tuberculosis in Merseyside and Cheshire rose last year.
Public Health England's annual "TB in the UK: 2013 report" shows there were 113 cases in the region last year, compared to 95 in 2011.
It says rates of TB have stabilised nationally at around 14 cases per 100,000 since the mid-2000s, following the increase in incidence seen in the previous two decades.
However, despite considerable efforts to improve prevention, treatment and control, TB incidence in the UK remains high compared to most other Western European countries.
London continued to carry the burden of infection in 2012, with 3,426 cases accounting for almost 40 per cent of the UK total, followed by the West Midlands with 12 per cent.
As in previous years, almost three quarters of cases were in people born in countries where TB is more common.
Of those born abroad, the majority of cases were from South Asia (60 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (22 per cent).
Dr Evdokia Dardamissis, TB lead from the Cheshire & Merseyside PHE Centre said: "TB is a preventable and treatable condition, but, if left untreated, can be life threatening.
"It's disappointing we’ve seen a small increase in the number of TB cases, but efforts to control the spread of this infection must remain a public health priority.
"Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are key to reducing TB levels in the UK so we encourage local health service commissioners to prioritise the delivery of appropriate clinical and public health services for TB, especially in areas where TB rates are highest.
"To reduce the risk of active TB disease in people coming to the UK from high incidence countries, it is essential that new migrants have good access to screening and diagnostic services.
"Ensuring that NICE recommendations on screening for latent TB infection are implemented in a coordinated manner across the country is therefore very important.
"Cheshire Merseyside Public Health England is working with NICE and NHS colleagues to improve uptake of TB screening among high risk groups such as the homeless, drug and alcohol users.”
Dr Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at PHE, added: "TB remains an important public health problem, particularly in London and among people from vulnerable communities.
"We have therefore made TB one of the key priorities for PHE and are working with key stakeholders to oversee the development of a stronger national approach to TB control.
"This will have at its heart support to local clinical, preventive and social care services in the NHS, local government and wider health and social care system.
"We are determined to see a sustained reduction in TB, and will work tirelessly to support local partners in those areas where the burden is greatest.”
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