UK stats and targets

Despite many people believing TB has been eradicated in the UK it never went away. In fact, the UK experienced a two decade long rise in cases from the mid-1980s. It is only in the last four years that the UK has begun to match the global trend for falling rates of TB, with affected individuals dropping from a peak of 8,919 cases in 2011 to around 6,000 cases annually today.

In England in 2015:

  • 0047_UK_find_and_treat_vanThere were 5,758 TB cases
  • 39% of cases were in London
  • 73% of cases were among non-UK born people
  • 12% of people with TB had at least one social risk factor for TB (a history of alcohol or drug misuse, homelessness or imprisonment)
  • 28% of people with pulmonary TB waited over four months from onset of symptoms to beginning treatment

Who gets TB?

In 2015, 73% of TB cases were found among people born outside the UK. Of these, 60% were among people that have been in the country for longer than six years – suggesting reactivation of latent TB

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were the most frequent countries of birth for non-UK born cases, though rates among the Indian and Pakistani community have decreased significantly over the last three years. This decrease in rates is also true in the non-UK born population as a whole.

TB remains an illness that is associated with health inequality. People in deprived communities have rates of TB seven times higher than people in the least deprived areas. 35% of cases were found among people not in education or employment.

12% of cases had at least one social risk factor for TB, a figure that increased from 10% in 2015: 4.3% had a history of drug misuse, 3.9% alcohol misuse, 4.4% homelessness and 3.9% imprisonment. People with social risk factors for TB also make up a disproportionate amount of the total number of people with drug-resistant forms of the illness.

Source: Tuberculosis in England 2016 report (presenting data to end of 2015)

TBAG patient advocates campaigning for changeTB targets

In 2015, the government launched the Collaborative TB Strategy for England which set out the steps required to achieving the ambition of a year-on-year
decrease in TB incidence, a reduction in health inequalities and, ultimately, the elimination of TB as a public health problem in England.