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Increase in tuberculosis cases

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has warned that the UK must remain vigilant to the threat of tuberculosis after the number of cases rose by more than 5% last year.

According to provisional figures from the HPA there were 9,153 cases in 2009, up 5.5% on 2008 when there were 8,679.

The region with the highest amount of cases was London, where 3,476 cases were reported, which amounted to one third of the total cases. In the West Midlands there were 1,035 cases. There was little change from 2008 in both regions.

The biggest rises were in Wales and the South West. Cases in Wales rose by nearly a third (31.7%), from 167 in 2008 to 220 last year and cases in the South West rose by just over a quarter (25.8%), from 268 to 337.

There were also rises of just over 10% in the East Midlands (to 596 cases), the North West (to 841 cases) and the South East (to 765 cases).

Ibrahim Abubakar, a TB expert at the HPA's centre for infections said: "This is an entirely preventable and curable infection, but it can be fatal if prompt diagnosis and treatment are not given."

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