TB in Herts on the Rise

29 March 2010, 06:00

Latest figures from the Health Protection Agency show that cases of TB in Hertfordshire have increased over the past year.

In 2009 92 people were infected with the disease, 14 more than the year before.

In the East of England cases for tuberculosis have increased slightly by 5.5%, from 468 reported in 2008 to 496 in 2009.

Cases in the east of England remains at a low number to other regions across the country and this figures represents just 5% of all cases in the UK.

TB is a preventable infection and is spread from person to person when someone coughs or sneezes. Although it requires close and prolonged contact with someone with active lung TB or be at risk of infection.

Dr Mike Lilley is the TB lead in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and has been telling Heart:

"TB is an entirely preventable and curable infection, but it can be fatal if prompt diagnosis and treatment are not given. It's important that everyone remains vigilant in the fight against TB.

"People need to be aware of the main symptoms of TB, which include a fever and night sweats; a persistent cough, weight loss, and blood in the sputum (phlegm or spit). If you experience two or three of these symptoms for a period of more than three weeks, you should go to your GP."

You should be aware of the following key, simple facts about TB:

  1. TB is curable. it is usually treated with a six-month course of anti-biotics, which MUST be completed in order to discourage recurrence of disease or drug resistance.
  2. Other symptoms include: lack of appetite, fatigue, and a general sense of feeling unwell. TB may also affect glands causing a swollen neck, or bone and joints leading to aches and pains. TB meningitis often gives a person severe headaches and, although rare, may result in death.
  3. Under half of cases in the UK have the infectious form of the disease. Most cases present little or no risk to others.
  4. TB affects children and adults differently. It is very uncommon to catch TB from a child with the disease.
  5. TB treatment is free for the patient