The lowest number of cases of tuberculosis has been recorded in England for 16 years, new figures from Public Health England (PHE) show.
In 2016, a total of 5,664 TB cases were notified in England, the lowest number since 2000.
The PHE annual report on TB in England shows that between 2012 and 2015 there was a 10% year-on-year decline in the number of cases of TB in England, which reduced to a 1% decline between 2015 and 2016. As in previous years, the main burden of the disease was concentrated in large urban areas with London PHE centre accounting for the highest proportion of cases in England.
“This is the lowest incidence of TB in England since enhanced TB surveillance began in 2000, highlighting the positive work of clinical and public health staff working on effective TB control,” said Toby Capstick, lead respiratory pharmacist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
However, he said that delays in diagnosis remain a significant concern.
“With a median delay in time from onset of symptoms to start of treatment of 77 days, and evidence of possibly increased transmission of TB, both of which highlight the need of healthcare professionals to be vigilant for signs and symptoms of tuberculosis,” he said.
“Pharmacists should be aware of resources available from TB Alert and for people presenting with symptoms such as weight loss, fever, night sweats, a cough for three weeks, loss of appetite, and tiredness.”
PHE and NHS England jointly launched the Collaborative Tuberculosis Strategy for England 2015–2020 in January 2015 with the aim of achieving a year-on-year decrease in TB incidence, reduction in health inequalities, and ultimately, the elimination of TB as a public health problem in England.