By Harriet Ernstsons Wednesday 21 August 2013 Updated: 21/08 11:31
CASES of TB in the county have risen by more than 70 per cent in just a year, new figures reveal.
A report released by Public Health England today (Wednesday) shows a total of 36 cases in Worcestershire in 2012 - which amounts to 6.4 per 100,000 residents. There were just 21 in 2011, a total of 3.7 per 100,000.
Across the border in Warwickshire, there were 9.7 cases per 100,000 in 2012 and 8.2 in 2011. But both counties fared better than the West Midlands averages of 19.3 and 18.
In all, 1,085 patients were treated for tuberculosis in the whole region last year, up from 1,008 the previous year.
Almost three quarters of cases were in people born in countries where TB is more common, with 60 per cent coming from South Asia and 22 per cent from sub-Saharan Africa.
Of the UK-born population, those most are risk were those from ethnic minority groups, the elderly and those with social risk factors such as a history of homelessness, imprisonment or problems with drugs or alcohol.
Dr Nic Coetzee, consultant for communicable disease control with PHE West Midlands, said TB was a preventable and treatable condition, but if left untreated it could be life threatening.
"Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are key to reducing TB levels in the UK so we encourage local health service commissioners to prioritise the delivery of appropriate clinical and public health services for TB, especially in areas where TB rates are highest.
"To reduce the risk of active TB disease in people coming to the UK from high incidence countries, it is essential that new migrants have good access to screening and diagnostic services. Ensuring that NICE recommendations on screening for latent TB infection are implemented in a co-ordinated manner across the country is therefore very important."
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