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TB rate remains high despite a decrease

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The number of cases of TB reported in the UK has decreased, but still remains one of the highest in Europe, according to figures from PHE.

In 2013, 7892 cases of TB were reported, a decrease from the 8729 cases reported in 2012. This equates to 12.3 cases per 100,000, which is one of the highest levels in Western Europe.

Cases are significantly more common in migrant communities compared with those who are UK-born. Migrant communities have a TB rate of 70 cases per 100,000, while communities born in the UK have a rate of four per 100,000. This is more apparent in settled migrants rather than new arrivals to the UK, with 85 per cent of cases diagnosed in those who have been in the UK for more than two years.

The overall TB rate in the UK-born population has not declined in the past decade. However, the rate in UK-born children has decreased in the past five years, suggesting some reduction in recent TB transmission in the UK.

Dr Lucy Thomas, head of TB Surveillance for PHE, said: 'Early diagnosis and treatment, including appropriate access and support for the most vulnerable cases, are key to improving TB control.

'Sustained reductions in TB, particularly amongst the most vulnerable groups, will require the social and economic determinants of the disease to be addressed, in addition to the provision of strong and effective public health and clinical services.'

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