Health authorities warn that the number of tuberculosis cases has increased by seven percent.
The number of infections rose to 2,408 in the first half of this year, compared with 2,251 last year, according to Britain’s Health Security Agency.
Experts said progress in eliminating the deadly medieval disease has stalled and more and more Britons are being affected.
Dr. Esther Robinson from the UKHSA said: “Despite significant progress towards elimination in recent years, tuberculosis remains a serious public health problem in the UK.
“With treatment, most people will make a full recovery.
“It is very important that those with relevant symptoms are tested and appropriate treatment is initiated promptly, both for the individual and to prevent further transmission.”
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease of the lungs caused by bacteria.
It spreads through the air when people with an infection cough, sneeze, or spit.
Symptoms include cough for more than three weeks, feeling fatigued, high temperature, weight loss and loss of appetite.
Typically, patients are given antibiotics for six months, but if left untreated, cases can be fatal.
The infection can spread to your brain, spinal cord, and the area around your heart.
The UKHSA said cases are still most common in people coming from regions of the world where tuberculosis is more common.
Infections are higher in urban and disadvantaged areas, with homeless people at higher risk, they said.
While authorities are concerned about drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis, infections from these bacteria have remained stable in recent years.
Dr. Robinson said: “As we approach winter, it is important to remember that not every persistent cough along with fever is caused by flu or Covid-19.
“A cough that is usually mucous and lasts longer than three weeks can be caused by a number of other problems, including tuberculosis.
“Tuberculosis develops slowly and it may take several weeks, months or even years after infection before you notice that you are feeling unwell.
“If you think you are at risk, contact your GP so you can get tested and treated.”
David Fothergill from the Local Government Association said: “TB is a preventable and treatable disease that disproportionately affects vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.
“Certain groups, such as migrants and people with social risk factors such as homelessness or a history of imprisonment, are more affected.
“Council staff play an important frontline role in the fight against tuberculosis.
“This includes identifying symptoms, advising health and social care professionals on appropriate infection control, and responding to tuberculosis incidents and outbreaks in settings such as schools.”
What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
The most common symptoms include:
- a cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks – you may cough up phlegm (phlegm) or phlegm with blood
- feeling tired or exhausted
- high temperature or night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- weight loss
- generally feeling unwell
If tuberculosis has spread to another part of your body, such as your glands (lymph nodes), bones, or brain, you may also experience other symptoms, including:
- swollen glands
- Body aches and pains
- swollen joints or ankles
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- dark or cloudy urine
- be sick
- be confused
- A stiff neck
- a rash on the legs, face, or other parts of the body
Source: The NHS