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BBC Wales's Susie Phillip
"Finding the cause of the outbreak is a slow process."
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Susie Phillips
"Doctors say there is no explanation for the rise."
 real 28k

Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
GPs alerted over TB increase
South Wales Valleys
The disease is commonly linked to social deprivation
An outbreak control team has been set up in the Rhondda after an alarming rise in tuberculosis.

GPs are being asked to be vigilant for symptoms for the disease after 40 cases in the Rhondda and Taff-Ely areas of the south Wales Valleys in the last 18 months.

Experts say they would have only expected to see around a dozen cases in that time.

Across the UK the number of people developing TB has increased by 80% over the last 10 years.

In Wales however, the number of people developing the disease has remained fairly static with around 150 new cases each year.

Social deprivation

But the number recorded in the Rhondda Valleys and the Taff Ely area has risen sharply.

Over the past twelve months, there have been 27 cases of TB compared to around 12 in previous years.

Over the past 18 months GPs have diagnosed 40 people from these areas with tuberculosis.

The disease is commonly linked to social deprivation and poor housing.

But doctors say they have no explanation for the rise in south Wales, particularly as there has not been a corresponding rise in neighbouring areas with similar levels of poverty.

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