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Addressing the phenomenal rise of tuberculosis in the UK

Primary care nurses have a crucial public health role in controlling and preventing the spread of tuberculosis, says Surinder Tamne.

It is estimated that any one time, up to a third of the world's population is infected with tuberculosis (TB).1 In 2012, an estimated 8.6 million people developed TB, with 1.3 million people dying from the disease.1 The disease is more common in regions of the world where poverty, malnutrition, HIV and a lack of social and health infrastructures are present. TB is a curable and preventable disease, yet no country in the world has eradicated it and it remains a major global health problem.

This article gives a brief description of TB epidemiology in the UK and pathogenesis, transmission and treatment. The article focuses on the different forms of TB, highlighting high-risk groups, and how nurses can enhance their public health role in accessing TB updates, instigating prompt referral, and investigations, particularly for pulmonary TB.

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