There has been a reduction in tuberculosis (TB) cases in England, particularly in the non-UK born population, which make up nearly three-quarters of all TB cases in the country, the Public Health England (PHE) annual report revealed.
While there has not yet been a similar reduction in the rate of TB in those born in the UK, in January 2015. PHE and NHS England committed to implement a collaborative TB strategy, which includes the key actions required to achieve a year on year reduction in all aspects of TB in England and a reduction in the inequalities associated with the disease.
Latest figures give an incidence of 12.0 cases per every 100,000 people in England, down from the peak of 15.6 per 100,000 in 2011. Similarly to previous years, London accounted for the highest proportion of cases in England, with 2,572 cases of TB in 2014, down from 2,965 cases in 2013.
Responding to the report Professor Paul Cosford, director for health protection and medical director for PHE said: “This is the third year in a row that we have seen a reduction in the number of TB cases in England, which is excellent news. This decrease is likely due to a number of factors, including changes in migration patterns, and the impact of pre-entry screening, in addition to interventions to improve the control of TB, both in England and abroad.”
Migrants on visas with a duration of six months or longer who are from countries with high rates of TB continue to be screened for active TB before they enter the UK.
TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is spread through inhaling tiny droplets from an infected persons coughs or sneezes.
“TB remains one of the key priorities for PHE, and we are working with key partners to oversee the development of a stronger national approach to TB control,” he added.