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Sunday 20th May 2018

GPs to screen for TB?

4th May 2007

Researchers have recommended that GP surgeries offer screening for tuberculosis.


The team from Queen Mary's School of Medicine found that offering screening at GP surgeries increased detection rates by over a third.  They have published their results and recommended the screening in a bid to help fight the recent rise in cases of the disease in the UK.   The researchers added that the earlier the disease was detected the easier it was to treat and contain.  Currently most cases are detected when a patient presents at A&E with advanced symptoms which, say researchers, could be avoided if GPs were to offer screening.

TB rates rose by 2% last year representing over 8,000 new cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Nearly half of the cases were identified in London and its high migratory population is thought to be the main carrier of the disease. Leading researcher, Professor Chris Griffiths said, "Increasing the numbers of cases of tuberculosis identified in primary care should reduce diagnostic delay compared with waiting for patients to present at emergency departments. This will lead to more prompt treatment with consequent improved outcome and reduced transmission of disease."

There are currently 19 local authority areas across England, Wales and Northern Ireland where TB is classed as common - above 40 cases per 100,000.  The government has expressed interest in the study and has asked the research team for a full paper on their findings.


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