More Brits are getting this deadly Victorian era disease. Here are some signs to look out for

It is one of the most infectious killer diseases that appears to be coming back strong in recent years.

More Brits are getting this deadly Victorian era disease. Here are some signs to look out for
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More Brits are getting this deadly Victorian era disease. Here are some signs to look out for

An estimated 10.6 million people tested positive for tuberculosis (TB) in 2021 representing a 3.6% rise. This is disturbing as these high figures are the first to be recorded for the first time in 20 years. Data from the World Health Organization shows that TB was the cause of 1.6 million deaths in 2021, making it the second leading infectious killer after Covid-19.

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Tuberculosis

TB is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person, according to the NHS. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the stomach (abdomen), glands, bones and nervous system.

Until the recent surge, the number of TB cases decreased by about two per cent each year over the last two decades. The increase has been attributed to people’s inability to get a diagnosis or receive treatment for TB during Covid-related lockdowns.

The strain of this Victorian-era infectious disease that seems to be spreading has been found to be drug resistant. This type of TB requires extra medication, the NHS says on its website:

Several different antibiotics are used because some forms of TB are resistant to certain antibiotics. If you're infected with a drug-resistant form of TB, treatment with 6 or more different medications may be needed.
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Symptoms

A couple of months ago, experts cautioned Brits to learn about the signs of TB, following an outbreak of the disease at a Welsh university. The health service regulator lists some signs to look out for as:

  • a persistent cough that lasts more than 3 weeks and usually brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
  • weight loss
  • night sweats
  • high temperature
  • tiredness and fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • swellings in the neck

It is advisable to see a GP if you have a cough that lasts more than 3 weeks, or you cough up blood.

Sources used:

The Sun: Warning as cases of deadly Victorian disease surge for first time in 20 years – the 6 signs you need to know

NHS: Tuberculosis (TB)

Welsh Government: Incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle in Great Britain: March 2022

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