TB cases in England fall to record low: data

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-22 23:35:46|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, March 22 (Xinhua) -- New cases of tuberculosis (TB) in England have fallen to the lowest levels since records began in 1960, Public Health England (PHE) said in a new report Friday.

According to the new data published ahead of World TB Day on Sunday, from the peak in 2011, when 8,280 new diagnosed cases were registered, the number had dropped 44 percent to 4,672 in 2018, which was also 8.4 percent down compared with 2017.

PHE says it is working towards the World Health Organisation (WHO) goal to halve TB incidence by 2025, and ultimately eliminate the disease.

Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: "We should be proud that TB rates are now at the lowest levels ever recorded in this country."

But the minister said there's still more to do. "People in deprived communities are still disproportionately more likely to contract this disease, so we must do more to tackle this injustice by raising awareness and ensuring early diagnosis and treatment."

The most deprived 10 percent of the population have a rate of TB more than seven times higher than the least deprived 10 percent. People born outside Britain have a rate 13 times higher than people born in the UK.

Dr. Sarah Anderson from PHE said: "TB still affects nearly 5,000 people a year in Britain and many people are simply unaware of the symptoms and impact of the disease."

The doctor also called on people, who has any possible symptoms, to seek healthcare professional help as soon as possible. "This World TB Day we are calling for anyone who has possible symptoms, or thinks they may be at risk to speak to their healthcare professional to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, to minimize the chance of long-term ill health and onward transmission."

Although TB can be fatal if left untreated, it is curable for the majority with a course of antibiotics.

Risk factors for tuberculosis include a weakened immune system, poor quality housing, alcohol and substance misuse, or time spent in a country with high TB rates.