We need people – people like those in TB Alert, who are focused and ambitious and care for people at grass roots in the UK, India and Africa. Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership
News and resources
A big thanks to St George’s Hospital in southwest London for helping raise awareness within the local community on tuberculosis during World TB Day. Staff put up a stall at the hospital entrance and gave out leaflets and information about TB to the public. Ikenna Obianwa, TB Alert’s Community Development Officer said similar events will be held at the Asylum Welcome, a drop-in for refugees and asylum seekers in Croydon.
Read the full comment piece on TB today by our Chief Executive, Mike Mandelbaum, here.
The cat was infected with the Mycobacterium bovis (M.bovis) bacteria, which causes bovine TB in cattle and other animals.
TB Alert's Chief Executive Mike Mandelbaum, says people should not panic. “In the UK we are a nation of cat lovers, so this may prove quite shocking for people who may now look at their pets in a different light.
“These are the first cases of cats transmitting TB to humans, and people really should not worry. But the symptoms of TB, whether from a cat or from human transmission, are the same, so people should be aware of these symptoms. The important thing with any TB – whether caught from a cat or a human – is to get it treated asap, to prevent long term damage to your health and to prevent you passing it on to other people.
"Although I would stress that the risk of catching TB from a cat is likely to remain very low, this is a stark reminder that TB is still a problem in the UK today, with almost 9,000 people developing it last year.
"The best way to control the spread of this curable illness is for it to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible."
According to the World Health Organization, of the 9 million people who get TB every year, around 3 million are completely missed by health services, meaning that they don't get the diagnosis and life-saving treatment they need. These are the world's poorest and most vulnerable, and with resources to tackle TB already stretched, finding and caring for them just hasn’t been the priority.
Around the UK, TB nurses and third sector organisations are holding awareness-raising events, there is an advocacy day at Parliament, and there has been widespread media coverage around TB, including in Metro and the Financial Times.
The findings looked at cities with populations greater than 500,000 and concluded that on average, the rate of tuberculosis in big cities was twice the countries’ national TB incidence. TB mainly affects certain high risk urban groups such as the homeless, people who originally come from countries with high TB incidence and those with a history of drug and alcohol misuse.
“Elimination of TB in European big cities requires control measures focused on addressing the diversity of individuals in urban populations and efforts to target TB must drive right down to local and regional level where unique experience of how to reduce the infection can be shared and built upon,” according to Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, Public Health England’s head of TB.
To address this growing problem, a working group chaired by Prof Abubakar and Dr Gerard de Vries of KNVC Tuberculosis Foundation, has looked into the factors behind the transmission of TB in cities. It also listed recommendations on how cities can reduce transmission rates.
To find out more, go to Eurosurveillance.org