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Is TB becoming more common across the UK?

6th March 2012

Cases of Tuberculosis (TB) are on the rise in London – with an increase of 8% during 2011 compared to 2010. Nationwide, reported TB cases rose by 5%.

A full story can be found on the BBC website, within the article Dr Sarah Anderson, a TB expert from the HPA states that cases are largely confined to at-risk specific groups including ‘the homeless, problem drug and alcohol users, prisoners, as well as some non-UK born groups because of their links with countries where TB is much more common.’

Dr Anderson also said: ‘The increase in London's TB rates reinforces the critical need for early diagnosis and treatment to control this serious public health issue.

‘It is also important that everyone is aware of the symptoms.’  Symptoms include a prolonged cough, fevers and weight loss.

Benenden Healthcare Society has a long association with the fight against TB – particularly within the UK at the turn of the 20th Century. The Society was founded by Post Office worker Charles Garland in direct response to high occurrences of TB amongst his fellow Post Office workers. Because quality TB treatment in specialist TB sanatoria was only available to the rich, a mutual model was used to make treatment affordable for lower-paid workers.

The story of the early years of Benenden Healthcare and the fight against TB in the UK is told in ‘Ahead of its Time’ – with first hand recollections of TB treatment at Benenden Hospital. You can view a short film with the film’s director Barney Broom below.

Of course, these days, TB is much easier to treat with available drugs - but organisations such as TB Alert are combating TB in poorer countries where drug treatment is far less accessible. Benenden Healthcare proudly supports TB charities each year in the run up to World TB Day on 24th March.

 

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