United Kingdom: TB Cases Set to Rise, Doctors Warn
March 5, 2003
There were 250 cases of TB in Leicestershire in 2002, and doctors have warned that the number of reported cases this year is already higher than the same period last year. However, they are not linking the rise with a reduction in the use of the TB vaccine.Adapted from:
Most of Europe and the United States do not use the BCG vaccine and maintain lower instances of TB than Britain. "The vaccine has been used since the 1950s when TB was already beginning to decline. It is not more than 50 percent effective and does not give life-long protection," noted Dr. Gerry Bryant, Leicestershire's specialist registrar in public health medicine. Usually, Leicestershire has an average of 200 cases of TB per year, 10 of which are fatal.
Experts are also trying to find out why more young people are contracting the disease. In 2001, Leicester saw the biggest TB outbreak in Britain when 67 people were diagnosed with TB. Most of the 330 students treated at Crown Hills Community College, Evington, had been given the BCG vaccine. Many parents are still anxious about TB, and are traveling abroad to countries like France to receive the vaccine, said Dr. Basil Hainsworth. "My children haven't had the vaccine, but I'm not worried because I know what the situation is," he said.
Leicestershire Health Authority's consultant in communicable diseases, Dr. Phillip Monk, said that he was unable to fully explain the reasons behind the rise. "More overseas travel could be one consideration, so could the fact that the more people who have it will be spreading it more widely. Another reason could be this is a more virulent strain of the disease. It could be any of these reasons, or it could be all three," said Monk. Cases were not restricted to any ethnic groups.
Leicester Mercury (United Kingdom)
03.03.03; Carol Burns
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.