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Tuesday, 23 August, 2011, 3:20 ( 1:20 GMT )
London, the tuberculosis capital of the West
20/12/2010 20:48:00
According to the Associated Press, the British capital, London, is becoming undisputed Tuberculosis capital of Western Europe.

The number of people infected with tuberculosis has jumped by 50 percent in London in the last decade, AP reported yesterday.

Unlike other countries in the region where tuberculosis is dropping, the disease is on the rise in Britain, particularly in London. In 1999, there were about 2,309 cases.

By 2009, London had 3,450 cases of Britain's more than 9,000 cases, according to an article published Friday in the medical journal, Lancet. Since only about 70 percent of active tuberculosis cases are picked up, those numbers are an underestimate.

"We are concerned to see cases of TB at their highest levels since the 1970s," said Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar, head of tuberculosis surveillance at Britain's Health Protection Agency, in a statement.

He was not connected to the commentary. "The key to reducing levels of TB is early diagnosis and appropriate treatment," Abubakar said.

While tuberculosis remains rare in the U.K. — about 15 people per 100,000 people are infected — that is still higher than elsewhere in Western Europe. In France, an estimated 10 people per 100,000 have tuberculosis.

Once known as the "white plague" in England because of the loss of skin color in patients, tuberculosis was virtually wiped out after the introduction of drugs and vaccinations in the 1960s. But it has surged in recent years, including drug-resistant strains.
 
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