Welcome reductions in TB nationally and globally

The latest reports on TB prevalence from Public Health England and The World Health Organization have shown a welcome reduction in rates of TB in England and globally.

England is now a low-TB-incidence country for the first time ever, as rates of TB drop to the lowest recorded rate of 9.2 cases per 100,000 population in 2017. However, this still means that over 5,000 people fall ill with the disease in England each year. TB is also becoming ever-more associated with health inequality in England, as cases are now seven times higher among the most deprived 10% of the population than the least deprived 10%, and increasingly concentrated in people with social risk factors such as homelessness substance misuse and a history of prison.

Globally, 2017 saw 10 million cases of TB and 1.6 million deaths, down from 10.1 million cases and 1.7 million deaths in 2016. Though this fall is to be welcomed, it is not sufficient to meet the WHO End TB Strategy target of a 90% reduction in the TB incidence and a 95% reduction in TB deaths by 2035.

At both a national and international level, beating TB will require more effort to reach under-served populations – those that make up the majority of the 3 million people who still miss out on effective care for TB each year.

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