Multiple TB cases recorded in Blackpool,

Multiple people a year contract tuberculosis in Blackpool, figures for recent years suggest.

By Simon Drury
Monday, 21st March 2022, 1:17 pm

People across the globe will be urged to consider the devastating impact of the potentially fatal disease on World TB Day 2022, taking place on Thursday.

Incidences of tuberculosis in England rose for the first time in eight years in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic brought disruption to TB-related care and support.

The significant impact of Covid-19 on TB services saw diagnoses drop in 2020 and backlogs for tests and treatments develop, prompting the Government to launch its TB Action Plan for England.

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Multiple cases of TB have been reported in Blackpool

Data from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities for NHS Blackpool CCG shows that an average of four people a year were diagnosed with the disease between 2018 and 2020.

That was three in every 100,000 people – lower than the eight in 100,000 across England.

Tuberculosis disease, which can be fatal if not treated properly, is infectious and can affect any part of the body, but is most likely to affect the lungs.

World TB Day, a World Health Organization initiative, will promote awareness of the life-threatening disease and its health, social and economic consequences.

It is spread through inhaling droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infectious person and symptoms can include persistent coughs, high temperatures, fatigue and swelling to the neck.

Dr Esther Robinson, head of the TB Unit at the UK Health Security Agency, urged anyone with symptoms to speak to their GP and encouraged the vaccination of children in high-risk groups.

She added: "Earlier detection and treatment of TB increases likelihood of recovery and reduces chances of onward spread of disease."

TB can almost always be cured, with sufferers usually given antibiotics for around six months to combat the disease.

In 2019, eight in every 100,000 people in England had the disease, the highest proportion since 2011.

That rate fell to seven in 100,000 in 2020, with the drop attributed to the pandemic's impact on health services.

Separate NHS England figures show roughly 16,000 referrals for TB-related support and care were made across England in 2021.

The Government's 2021 to 2026 action plan aims to bring about a year-on-year reduction in TB cases and associated health inequalities, with the aim of eradicating the disease in England by 2035.