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EU-wide strategy to tackle rising TB rates in cities

While national TB rates are falling in some European countries, the incidence of tuberculosis is on the rise in big cities in the EU, according to a study published in the journal Eurosurveillance.

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.

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Cats infect people with TB

Two people have developed tuberculosis (TB) after coming into contact with a domestic cat, in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission, Public Health England (PHE) has said. 

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."


TB Alert launches new logo

TB Alert new logoWe’re really pleased to launch our brand new logo. We hope you like it! We believe our new look is warmer and friendlier, and will resonate better with people affected by TB, along with the organisations that work with them. As a result, it will help us to engage our key audiences and raise our profile. We’ll be rolling out these changes as we reprint materials, to save on costs, so please bear with us during this period. Our ‘new look’ website will launch next month too, so come back and see it!

  • 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

  • We cannot win the battle against AIDS if we do not also fight TB. TB is too often a death sentence for people with AIDS. It does not have to be this way. We have known how to cure TB for more than 50 years. What we have lacked is the will and the resources to quickly diagnose people with TB and get them the treatment they need. Nelson Mandela

  • I am very impressed by the work done by TB Alert, that is why I wanted to spread the message...I am one of those that did think that TB had been eradicated...and suddenly it is back in a very big way! Baroness Joan Bakewell, explaining why she supports TB Alert

  • TB is the child of poverty – and also its parent and provider. TB Alert's Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu

  • TB Alert are passionate in their work to stamp out TB in the UK and alleviate the problems of people with TB. Alan Higgins, Director of Public Health, Oldham

  • TB Alert allowed me to regain a purpose to live. People who listened, understood and never judged. I am now proud to be part of the team which is able to offer peer support to others. Steve, TB Action Group member

  • TB Alert UK respects partnership work. Chennupati Vidya, President  of TB Alert partner, VMM