Written by Catherine Smith, UCL Infection and Population Health PhD student
Many people are surprised to learn that the problem of tuberculosis in London is so serious that it is now known as the ‘TB capital of Europe’. In the worst affected London Borough of Newham, more than one in every thousand people is diagnosed with the disease each year, and the trend is increasing.
I live in Islington, where the situation is not quite as severe. However, it is still alarming to note that the rate here is much closer to that of relatively high incidence countries, like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Brazil, than the USA or Sweden.
London is also a major hub for TB research. On 24 March, the 133rd anniversary of the discovery of the pathogen that causes the disease, researchers from UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine jointly hosted an event that asked the question: What do we need to know to reach, treat, and cure everyone with TB? The event was attended by 270 people, and watched online by over 1,300 from 46 different countries via a live stream.