Sharp rise in tuberculosis cases in South Asians living in Britain
Cases of tuberculosis (TB) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland rose by 10.8% in 2005, figures show.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) recorded 8,113 cases during the year, compared to 7,321 in 2004.
Levels of TB have been increasing year on year in the UK since the late 1980s, but this is the largest single year increase since 1999.
London recorded 3,479 cases, up from 3,129 in 2004. The North West recorded the biggest proportional increase.
The highest proportion of cases - 38% - were reported among people from an Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic background.
Dr John Watson, head of the HPA's Respiratory Diseases Department, said the largest increase was seen among patients not born in the UK, who accounted for 5,310 cases.
Levels of TB in the UK-born population remained stable
However, he said only 22% of these non-UK born patients in 2005 arrived in the UK during the past two years.
"This suggests that the increase is not a result of a large number of individuals arriving recently with TB but rather a combination of TB disease developing in individuals who may have been infected for some time and new infections acquired in the UK, or as a result of travel to other countries where TB is common."
TB was the biggest killer in the UK in the 19th century.
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