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Number of TB patients revealed
Two people a week are being diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease tuberculosis (TB).
New figures show there were 113 new cases of the disease confirmed across the county in 2012, a rise on 104 the year before. Brighton and Hove had the highest number of cases, 32, a slight increase on the 25 recorded in 2011.
Most other areas reported a drop in numbers, with Crawley falling from 25 to 17 and Hastings going from 11 to ten.
However Crawley has a rate of 15.9 per 100,000 of the population, higher than the national average of 14 per 100,000.
All other areas of the county had below average rates.
The figures emerged in a national report published today by Public Health England.
Those most at risk of catching TB are individuals from ethnic minority groups who may be exposed to the disease when they travel to visit relatives in Asia, those with social risk factors such as a history of homelessness, imprisonment or problem use of drugs or alcohol, and the elderly.
Crawley has a large Asian population, which may have contributed to its higher rate.
In August 2012 it emerged two brothers and their parents had devel- oped the condition after one son fell ill in February.
TB is a disease caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs, although other areas of the body can also be affected.
It is usually curable with a six month course of antibiotics. Graham Bickler, director of Public Health England’s public health centre for Sussex, said: “TB is a preventable and treatable condition but, if left untreated, it can be life-threatening.
“Efforts to control the spread of this infection must remain a priority.
“Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are key to reducing TB levels, so we encourage local health service commissioners to prioritise the delivery of clinical and public health services for TB, especially in areas where TB rates are highest.”
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