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Number of TB cases continues to fall

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The decline has not been observed in the homeless The decline has not been observed in the homeless population

The number of cases of tuberculosis reported in England has continued to decline, according to Public Health England's (PHE’s) annual report on the condition.

Figures in the report show that there were 5758 cases, or 10.5 cases per 100,000, in 2015, compared with 8280 in 2011, or 15.6 cases per 100,000. The report states that the reduction in the number of cases has occurred in both the indigenous and migrant population. The decline has also been seen in all regions of the country.

‘It is encouraging to see TB cases in England are continuing to decline, with rates one third lower in 2015 than in 2011. However, we can’t be complacent as we still have one of the highest rates of TB in Western Europe,’ said Dr Lucy Thomas, head of TB Surveillance at PHE.

The report notes that while the findings are mostly positive, there are still areas where improvement is required. The number of cases in at-risk patients such as the homelessness, those with drug or alcohol problems or prisoners, has not declined but the proportion has increased by 2% in the past year.

‘The report provides welcome evidence of the early success of the joint TB Strategy between PHE and NHS England,’ added Dr Thomas. ‘Continued implementation of the strategy will be key to ensuring we see further reductions in cases. We need to make a particular effort to tackle TB among the more vulnerable and disadvantaged in society, such as the homeless and people with drug and alcohol problems, where we have seen a small increase in cases.

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