Figures show the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the UK increased by 2% last year and London saw the biggest rise.
The provisional statistics released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show cases of the infection rose from 8,496 in 2007 to 8,679 in 2008.
The infection, which is caused by bacteria and usually manifests in the lungs, is contagious and is spread through the air. Symptoms can take several months to appear but once diagnosed it can be treated with a course of antibiotic medication.
The data, which has been released to coincide with World TB Day, shows the highest rise in reported cases was in London, where 3,415 new diagnoses were recorded last year, 2% more than 2007 and accounting for 39% of the overall UK total.
The West Midlands saw the second highest number of cases with 1,027 for 2008, 9% higher than 2007.
A TB expert at the HPA’s Centre for Infections has warned that more needs to be done to control the number of cases.
Dr Ibrahim Abubakar said: “The key to halting the health burden which this disease causes in the UK is the prompt diagnosis and treatment of infectious cases. Various myths still exist about TB and how it is spread.”
Copyright Press Association 2009