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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 09:49 GMT
Cases of tuberculosis rise by 50%
Cases of tuberculosis in the West Midlands have risen by 50% in the past six years, figures show.

Health officials said there were 900 cases in the region last year.

The region is also the second worst in the UK, with 18.3 cases per 100,000 population, compared to 45.8 per 100,000 in London.

Dr John Innes, consultant physician at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, said most cases in the region were among the Asian community.

He added: "Generally speaking, TB is commoner among immigrant groups or their immediate descendents.

Taking medication

"There are a lot of people from south Asia in Birmingham and they represent the majority of the cases of TB.

"If people have untreated TB of the lung it is very likely that they will spread it to other people and that will mostly be the people they are closest to."

Prof Gurdyal Besra, of the University of Birmingham, said sufferers often stopped taking medication too early, causing the disease to return.

He said treatment of the disease could take up to nine months, using a combination of antibiotics.

"After a few weeks you start to feel much better and people think they're cured, but they're not," he added.




SEE ALSO
Tuberculosis cases 'are rising'
22 Mar 07 |  Health

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