World Bulletin (08.21.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
On August 21, Public Health England (PHE) reported that Britain’s TB incidence was among the highest in Western European countries and acknowledged that London was the “TB capital” of the region. Director of Health Protection Services Dr. Paul Cosford stated that London’s TB incidence totaled approximately 40 percent of Britain’s 8,750 cases in 2012. Immigrants from high-incidence regions such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounted for approximately 75 percent of London’s 3,426 TB diagnoses in 2012. PHE reported that fewer than 2 percent of Britain’s TB cases were resistant to one or more anti-TB drugs.
If the current TB infection trend continued, Britain’s TB incidence would exceed US incidence in two years, according to PHE. Cosford stated that a sustained TB reduction was a primary PHE goal, and the agency would work “tirelessly” to support local partners in reducing TB in high-morbidity areas. Lucy Thomas, PHE’s head of TB surveillance, recommended enhanced access to TB screening and diagnostic services for new immigrants to prevent high TB transmission rates.
Once considered a “disease of the past” or a disease limited to marginalized communities, TB resulted in approximately 500 million euros of annual direct health costs for European governments and an additional 5.3 billion euros in lost productivity.