Record low TB rate in Ireland

  • Niall Hunter, Editor

The number of TB cases in Ireland have reached their lowest level since modern records began.

The HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has said announced that there were 368 cases of TB notified in Ireland during 2012, the lowest notification rate since surveillance began in 1998.

HSE Assistant National Director of Health Protection, Dr Kevin Kelleher said that the decline in TB in Ireland was good news, but he stressed the need to remain vigilant against the disease as cases of TB were still occurring in Ireland.

"It is important to be aware of the symptoms of TB which include fever and night sweats, cough (lasting more than three weeks), weight loss and blood in the sputum (phlegm) at any time. A person with any of these symptoms should visit their family doctor for advice. If someone has a reason to think that they might have TB, they should tell this to their doctor," Dr Kelleher said.

In Ireland, the rate of TB has declined from 420 cases in 2010, to 368 cases last year.

This compares to 604 cases reported in 1992 and to 7,000 cases of TB notified annually in the early 1950s.

TB mortality has fallen over 40% worldwide since 1990, and the incidence is declining.

The new figures were released to mark World TB Day which takes place on Sunday March 24.

World TB day commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the TB bacillus.

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