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Respiratory tuberculosis (TB) statistics

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It can affect any part of the body, commonly the lungs, and is caught from other people. The TB germs might cause one or many holes in one or both lungs. You are most at risk of developing active TB if your immune system is damaged. You are also at high risk if your immune system works less well following an organ transplant or treatment for conditions such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

These statistics on tuberculosis in the UK were compiled as part of our Respiratory Health of the Nation project by teams at St George’s University of London, Nottingham University and Imperial College London.

Deaths from TB

How many males and females died from TB in 2012?

In 2012, 282 people in the UK died from TB (approximately 0.2 per cent of all respiratory-related deaths). Of these, 177 were males and 105 were females. The total number of deaths was down from 381 in 2008.

UK deaths from respiratory TB compared with other lung diseases, 2012


What ages were the people who died from TB in 2012?

In 2012, of the 282 people who died from TB:

  • 65 were aged 14–64; and
  • 217 were aged 65 and above.

How many males and females died from respiratory TB in each UK region in 2008–12?

Across the UK in 2008–12, 941 males and 670 females died from respiratory TB.

 

TB mortality is highest in London. Scotland has the next highest mortality rate, followed by the West Midlands and the East Midlands. This reflects the higher rates of TB in major urban areas like London, Birmingham and Glasgow. There is also more immigration from high-risk countries in these areas. Scotland has the highest TB mortality rate for women.

Respiratory TB mortality ratios by UK regions, males and females, 2008–12


How many people in the UK die from TB compared with the rest of the world?

The UK ranks 78th out of 99 countries included in WHO worldwide TB mortality figures. It is also 22nd of the 33 European countries included on that list.

However, this does not tell the whole story given that TB mortality is higher in urban areas, particularly London. In particular, multidrug-resistant TB is more common in London, which is likely to be due in large part to immigration from Eastern Europe.

According to Public Health England, the UK has the second highest mortality from TB in Western Europe. This mortality is also 5 times higher than in the US. The incidence of TB in some parts of east London is comparable to that in India.

Number of people per million of population by country who died from TB, 2001–10


TB notifications

How many TB notifications were there each year in the UK, 2004–13?

TB is a notifiable disease in the UK. By law, doctors must report suspected and confirmed cases of TB within three days to their local health protection team.

The rate of TB notifications was about 14 people per 100,000 from 2005 to 2012, but dropped to 12 per 100,000 in 2013.

Number of TB notifications per 100,000 in the UK, 2004–12


Emergency hospital admissions

How do rates of emergency admission to hospital for TB vary across the UK in 2008–12?

England: There were higher rates of emergency admission in London and the West Midlands compared with the UK generally, and considerably fewer in the North East, the East Midlands, the East of England, the South East and South West.

Scotland: Rates of emergency admission for males were higher compared with the UK generally. But the rates for females were lower compared with the UK generally.

Wales: Rates of admission were considerably lower compared with the UK generally, with no significant difference between males and females.

Northern Ireland: Rates of admission were considerably lower compared with the UK generally, with no significant difference between males and females.

Respiratory TB hospital admission ratios, males and females, in each UK region, 2008–12