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TB drug resistant cases on the rise

The number of drug resistant cases of TB has risen by over a quarter during 2011, the Health Protection Agency has warned.

Figures show 8,693 new cases of TB were reported last year, up from 8,410 cases in 2010.

Drug resistant TB accounted for 8.4% of laboratory confirmed TB cases in 2011 ie 431 out of 5,127 - up 26% from the previous 12 months.

“Although we are disappointed that there has been an increase in new TB diagnoses in the past year, we are pleased that TB cases overall have been stabilising since 2005 with around 8,500-9,000 new diagnoses each year,” said Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, Head of TB surveillance at the HPA.

“However, the increase in drug resistant cases remains a concern and a challenge to our efforts to control TB in the UK.”

Drug resistant diseases usually occur as a result of a drug resistant strain from another person or inappropriate or incomplete treatment.

However, Prof Abubakar said the proportion of TB sufferers completing their treatment is on the rise.