District’s TB rate among UK highest

RISING CASES The number of people contracting TB in on the rise, despite vaccination programmes.
RISING CASES The number of people contracting TB in on the rise, despite vaccination programmes.

The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in our district is among the highest in the UK outside London, according to a report by health officials.

Kirklees’ Health Protection Board is recommending an investigation into the factors behind a continued rise in cases and the creation of a district-wide control plan.

It said: “The majority of people with TB in Kirklees live in deprived parts of Huddersfield, Batley and Dewsbury.

“Alcohol abuse, homelessness and a prison record are the commonly reported social risk factors for TB.”

It said transmission of the bacterial infection in those groups had contributed to clusters and outbreaks, with the majority of cases recorded in North Kirklees.

TB is a curable conditions spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

It mainly affects the lungs, but other parts of the body including the nervous system.

The health protection report said there had been a steady increase of cases in Kirklees since 2004, with a three-fold rise in people aged 25 to 24.

It said implementation of national guidance had stabilised local rates, but had not reversed the upward trend.

The report is due to be presented to Kirklees’ Health and Wellbeing Board today.