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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