Tests on immigrants 'miss most TB'

Screening procedures for tuberculosis in immigrants in the UK are missing the majority of cases, new research has revealed.

Using new blood checks rather than chest X-rays would detect over 90% of imported latent TB, experts said, as opposed to the current failure to detect more than 70% of cases of latent infection.



A team of researchers at Imperial College London said new methods of blood testing would mean that people with imported latent TB could be given a course of antibiotics to prevent them from developing an active form of the disease.



TB is caused by a bacterial infection which is normally asymptomatic, but around one in 10 infections leads to active disease, which attacks the lungs and kills around half of people affected.



The incidence of TB has risen dramatically in Britain over the last decade, particularly because of a 98% increase in cases among people who move to the country from overseas, the research said.



Current UK policy requires all immigrants from countries with a TB incidence higher than 40 in 100,000 people per year to have a chest X-ray on arrival to check for active TB, although very few immigrants have the active disease on arrival.



However, a substantial proportion of immigrants are carriers of latent TB which, though initially silent and non-infectious, often progresses to full-blown TB within a few years of arrival in the UK, researchers said.



Professor Ajit Lalvani, director of the Tuberculosis Research Unit at Imperial College London, who led the study, said: "By treating people at that early stage, we can prevent them from developing a serious illness and becoming infectious.



"Crucially, this wider screening could substantially reduce TB incidence while remaining cost-effective. Our findings provide the missing evidence-base for the new national strategy to expand immigrant screening."



His research, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, analysed results from over 1,200 recent immigrants at centres using new blood tests to screen for latent TB in London, Leeds and Blackburn.



The study found that a fifth of recent immigrants from the Indian Subcontinent and almost 30% from Sub-Saharan Africa are carriers of latent TB and that national screening policy, which does not include immigrants from the Indian Subcontinent, has been missing 70% of imported latent TB.



A Department of Health spokesman said: "Tuberculosis is a global problem and sustained action is needed to detect, diagnose and treat cases earlier.



"We are funding TB Alert, the UK's national TB charity, to increase awareness of TB among primary healthcare professionals and the public.



"We are pleased that this research backs up the latest Nice (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidance on TB screening. We expect the local NHS to consider the best ways of tackling this issue in their area."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    C# asp.net Developer - West Sussex - permanent - £40k - £50k

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

    SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

    £30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

    Project Manager (infrastructure, upgrades, rollouts)

    £38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

    Project Manager (App development, SAP, interfacing)

    £50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments