Oct 4 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
LEVELS of a deadly disease in Brent are the second highest in London.
Twelve of the 33 local authorities in London had rates of tuberculosis (TB) of 40 incidents or higher per 100,000 population and Newham and Brent continue to top the list.
Brent had 312 cases reported in 2011, and came second to Newham, which registered 376 fresh cases of the curable disease, which is usually caused by an airborne germ which has spread from the lungs of an infected person and the symptoms of which include fever and night sweats, persistent coughing, weight loss and blood in phlegm or spit.
Dr Sarah Anderson, a tuberculosis expert for the Health Protection Agency in London, said: “One in five cases reporting one or more social risk factors were unlikely to complete treatment within 12 months, compared to 13 per cent of those without these risk factors.
“If treatment isn’t completed, it increases the risk of patients developing drug-resistant TB, passing on the infection to others and, in a small number of cases, death.”
Alcohol misuse, drug misuse ,homelessness, imprisonment and mental health factors all affect a person’s likelihood of contracting the disease, and of passing it on, and TB is more common in areas of deprivation.
Brent also had the highest number of tuberculosis sufferers aged under 16, just over half of which were UK born.
The figures were compiled by the Heath Protection Agency and show that 3,511 people were diagnosed with the disease in the capital last year, which is 39 per cent of the UK total.
Levels of TB are highest among London residents aged 20 to 29 years old, and among men.