Increasing numbers of drug resistant tuberculosis cases have been reported in the UK as populations mix and change due to ongoing migration, according to a study.
Research published on bmj.com, shows more than 8,000 cases of tuberculosis were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2006. In addition, resistance to anti-tuberculosis drugs has been increasing globally.
Of mounting concern is the increasing transmission of drug resistant tuberculosis among difficult to treat, marginalised groups in urban areas such as London, and the problems this could create for tuberculosis control.
Dr Michelle Kruijshaar and colleagues present the latest trends in resistance to antituberculosis drugs between 1998 and 2005.
Overall, the researchers found that the proportion of cases resistant to any first line drug had increased from 5.6% to 7.9%. They report an increasing proportion of isoniazid resistance (6.9%) and small increases in rifampicin resistance (1.2%) and multidrug resistance (0.9%).
The report showed that outside London there was a significant increase in resistance to isoniazid. The authors suggest this reflects the increasing number of patients with tuberculosis who are not born in the UK. Analyses showed an increase in the number of cases in people from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent that could be related.
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