The 24th March is World TB Day which commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.
Public Health England data show that although there has been an encouraging decline in the incidence of TB in England over the past four years there has been a small increase in the number of cases with social risk factors, (people affected by homelessness, drug or alcohol misuse or imprisonment) who have more complex clinical and social needs. These cases are more likely to have drug resistance and to have worse TB outcomes, being more than twice as likely to have been lost to follow up or to have died.
What you can do:
- Make an early and accurate diagnosis: systematic assessment of cough and breathlessness and recurrent chest infections will aid earlier diagnosis of pulmonary TB as well as other rarer conditions
- Persistence or re-emergence of TB is heavily influenced by tobacco smoking and part of the treatment for anyone with pulmonary TB should be systematic identification and treatment of tobacco dependence
- Primary care clinicians working with their local authorities can develop systems to identify those at higher risk and ensure they are screened and case found
- Check that your practice is following the latest NICE guidance on TB prevention, identification and management
- Public Health England, Tuberculosis in England 2016 report HERE
- NICE Quality Standard (January 2017) on Tuberculosis HERE
- NICE guidance on preventing, identifying and managing latent and active tuberculosis (updated May 2016) HERE
- PCRS-UK is campaigning for healthcare professionals to view tobacco dependency as a long term relapsing condition that starts in childhood. Read more about the campaign in Primary Care Respiratory Update HERE
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