|A Brief History|
Two hundred years ago one death in four in the UK was caused by tuberculosis. It was the greatest killer the country had ever seen. Though the poor were the worst affected, every section of society had its victims, among the most notable being the three Brontë sisters, and other literary giants such as Keats, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Walter Scott. For the next 150 years it remained a serious scourge and as recently as 1950, 50,000 cases were being notified each year in England and Wales. By the end of the 1950s BCG, the vaccine against tuberculosis and more importantly successful drug therapy had begun to reduce case numbers sharply. By 1987 only 5,700 cases were notified. However in recent years UK notifications have increased as per the Public Health Laboratory Service Figures.
|The anti-tuberculosis work force|
number of organisations have been set up in the continuing battle against tuberculosis
in the UK. In 1899 the National Association for the prevention of tuberculosis
was formed to provide a charitable focus for tuberculosis work. This later became
the Chest Association, then the Chest and Heart Association and then The Chest
Heart and Stoke Association before, in 1991 reverting to the Stroke Association
only and ceasing to fund research in Chest or Heart disease.
|TB in the UK now|
1987 cases numbers have risen from about 5,700 a year to just over 7,000. Numbers
have remained steady at around this figure for the last five years. What has become
apparent is that most of TB is now seen in those who have been infected abroad,
usually in a developing country. There are approximately 8 million new cases and
3 million deaths from TB each year globally. The arrival of AIDS has greatly increased
the number of cases as HIV represents the greatest risk factor we know of causing
infection to proceed to disease. Tuberculosis is now the commonest cause of death
in AIDS patients world-wide. A wider grouping of doctors is now seeing and managing
TB patients, in particular specialists in Infectious Diseases, Paediatrics, and
|TB Worldwide||Diagrams showing worldwide infection and dynamic changes in infection|
|Why do we need a new organisation?|
|The need for a new society|
old structures which held together tuberculosis work in this country for nearly
a century are now either deceased or outdated. A new society is needed to bring
together the diverse groups involved in the management of patients and research
into new ways of combating the disease. TB
Focus is such a group. Its aim is to bring together workers in
tuberculosis whatever their interest and background.
The current meeting schedule is annual with a varied programme to cover as many different aspects of tuberculosis as possible. We met in the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine for a day conference in 1998 and again in 1999. In 2000 we will meet according to the programme on our pages. All those working or researching into tuberculosis are welcome to attend. There will be a small charge for food and a further small joining fee so that new members can be kept informed about future meetings.
TB Focus works in conjunction with TB Alert, the new charity formed in 1998, designed to increase awareness of tuberculosis and provide resources for service work and research for tuberculosis in developing countries.
Table of principal workers in tuberculosis (UK).
|Year||Type of Worker|
of TB Cases in England and Wales from 1979 to 1998
showing percentage by ethnic origin.
|TB Case numbers in a six month survey||3732||3002||2143||2458||2510|
12 Dec 2000 at Chelsea and Westminster
|Articles and Papers|
© Priory Lodge Education Ltd 1999-2000