Health warning : Oxford is worst hit in county (From Oxford Mail)

by Symptom Advice on February 9, 2012

Health warning : Oxford is worst hit in county

10:00am Saturday 14th January 2012 in Oxford By Amanda Williams

THE number of people with the potentially fatal tuberculosis is on the rise in Oxfordshire, new figures have revealed.

And people in Oxford city are more likely to get the disease, which reached epidemic proportions in Victorian England, than anywhere else in the county.

In 1991 Oxfordshire recorded about just 25 to 30 cases of tuberculosis (TB).

Last year that had risen to 61, up from 55 cases the previous year.

TB is a bacterial infection which mainly affects the lungs.

Nationally, there are 14 cases of TB per 100,000 of the population.

In Oxford city, the incidence rate is more than 21 per 100,000.

it is spread through inhaling droplets of saliva from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

Health chiefs have attributed the rise over the past 20 years to the increase of non-immunised immigrants coming from Asian and African countries where the disease is far more common, and settling in parts of Oxford and Banbury.

According to the county’s public health report, over the past four years the number of cases has been highest in Oxford City and Cherwell District Council.

but county health chief Jonathan McWilliam played the rise in cases down and said: “The county average rate for new cases is consistently lower than the UK rate.

“This is a good achievement.”

TB was the biggest killer in the UK in the 19th century when about one in four deaths were from TB, or consumption as it was then known.

Thanks to a concerted immunisation programme, the number of cases nationally dropped to just 5,500 in 1987. however, last year there were 9,040 infections across the country.

The Health Protection Agency said the disease is mainly occurring among overseas immigrants, from places such as West Africa, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Russia and China.

NHS Oxfordshire, the county’s primary care trust, said it had a comprehensive service for TB patients which was based at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

an NHS Oxfordshire spokesman said: “The incidence rate of TB in Oxfordshire is 9.5 per 100,000 of the population.

“This is consistently lower than the UK rate which is 13.6.

“Patients are assessed by TB consultants and supported by a team of community TB nurses. Treatment lasts approximately six months.

“This service has succeeded in achieving a high completion rate of 94.5 per cent which is well above the national standard of 85 per cent.”

what is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling droplets of saliva from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

TB mainly affects the lungs. however, the infection can spread to many parts of the body, including the bones and nervous system.

Symptoms include a persistent cough, blood in sputum, weight loss and night sweats. it can kill if left untreated with antibiotics.

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