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Tuberculosis in the UK: 2011 report

cover: Tuberculosis in the UK 2011


Debora Pedrazzoli, Dr Michelle Kruijshaar, Dr Laura Anderson and Dr Ibrahim Abubakar - Tuberculosis Section, Health Protection Services, HPA

Publication date: December 2011



The recent potential decline in the incidence of tuberculosis, after nearly two decades of increasing rates, is encouraging. While we would urge caution in the interpretation of recent trends until further years of data become available, the magnitude of the decline is the largest seen since the implementation of enhanced surveillance. The proportion of cases with resistance to any first-line drug and multi-drug resistance remains stable. The absolute number of cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, however, continues to increase. Significant progress has been made in increasing the proportion of patients completing treatment, with London achieving over 85%. Levels of data quality also continue to improve.

The absence of a decline in tuberculosis in the UK-born population over the last decade is explained by the high rates of disease in UK-born risk groups such as those whose parents or grandparents originate from a high tuberculosis burden country and persons with social risk factors for tuberculosis.

While it is pleasing to see some recent decline in the number of cases of tuberculosis, it is not a time to be complacent. Effective measures to further strengthen control of TB in the UK, as outlined in the NICE guidelines and the forthcoming NICE guidelines on hard-to-reach groups, should be implemented. Public health action to decrease tuberculosis will need to continue to target high-risk groups such as immigrants, homeless persons, problem drug users and prisoners.

The UK should continue to contribute to international tuberculosis control efforts and strengthen our role in addressing the wider determinants of the disease.

Report amended 07/12/2011


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For information or queries relating to this document please contact: Respiratory Diseases Department

Accompanying slideset:  Tuberculosis in the UK: Annual report on tuberculosis surveillance in the UK 2011 - Slide Set (PowerPoint Presentation, 5 MB)

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Last reviewed: 16 December 2011