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TB rates lower than national average
FAR fewer cases of tuberculosis (TB) have been reported in Worcestershire in the last year than elsewhere in the West Midlands and across the UK, new figures have revealed.
There were 36 cases of the potentially life-threatening infection in Worcestershire during 2012, a rate of 6.4 per 100,000 people.
Nationally the figure is much higher, at a rate of 15.2 per 100,000, while the West Midlands rate is higher again at 19.3 per 100,000.
The figures have been revealed in Public Health England’s latest TB in the UK report, which says that although TB rates have stabilised in recent years, the number of cases in the UK remains high compared to most other Western European countries.
While TB is less prevalent in Worcestershire than most other parts of the West Midlands, the county has seen an increase in the infection since 2011, when there were only 21 cases at a rate of 3.7 per 100,000.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection spread through coughs or sneezes from an infected person. It mainly affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body including the bones and nervous system.
Public Health England says almost three-quarters of cases are in people born in countries where TB is more common, with the vast majority of those originally from South Asia.
In the UK-born population it says the elderly, people from ethnic minority groups and those with a history of drug use, homelessness or imprisonment are most at risk.
Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England, said: “We are determined to see a sustained reduction in TB and will work tirelessly to support local partners in those areas where the burden is greatest.”
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