July 30 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 16°C

Five-day forecast

London ‘failing in battle against TB’ as Whittington Hospital leads eradication efforts

Dr Richard Jennings, an infectious diseases consultant, is heading up a new Tuberculosis treatment centre at the Whittington Hospital Dr Richard Jennings, an infectious diseases consultant, is heading up a new Tuberculosis treatment centre at the Whittington Hospital

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
10:27 AM

The Whittington Hospital is to be on the front line of a new battle against the spread of Tuberculosis (TB) as London continues to suffer the highest rate of infection of any Western European capital.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

A new £1million centre is scheduled to open this month at the hospital in Archway amidst warnings that the highly contagious and potentially deadly disease was still at “worryingly high” levels in London.

The capital reported more than 3,400 cases in 2012, representing 42 infections per 100,000 people – a rate way above the national average of 14 infections per 100,000 and those of many other developed cities.

While below the London average, Camden, Haringey, and Barnet all have rates more than double the 
national average.

A flurry of recent reports in the mainstream press reporting the transfer of TB from cats to humans in the UK has now led to claims that the disease is at risk of spiralling out of control. But experts insist that it is “neighbours rather than pets” that remain the biggest challenge.

Dr Richard Jennings, an infectious diseases consultant at The Whittington, said: “It’s infection between people that poses the biggest problem.

“The rate of TB in cats is, while interesting, extremely small and it’s not something I think people should be too concerned about.

“But what is worrying is that while the number of cases in London isn’t rising, it’s not falling either – it’s plateaued.

“Many infections originate outside the country, from areas like the Indian subcontinent and Africa, and treatment in London isn’t co-ordinated to deal with it.

“While other major cities like New York, Paris and Barcelona have made impressive reductions in the past few years, London hasn’t made that progress.

“And that’s despite having some of the world’s leading experts in TB.”

Dr Jennings says a new co-ordinated programme across north London will help rid the city of its current title as “TB capital of Europe”.

The state-of-the-art centre at The Whittington will offer a free walk-in service and a new team of specialists who will help diagnose and treat 
patients with TB quicker.

Staff will also work with another hub based at the North Middlesex University Hospital in Edmonton.

“The new Whittington hub will be one of the biggest TB centres in London, making at least 200 new diagnosis a year,” Dr Jennings explained.

“It will also focus on tracking down and testing those who have been in prolonged contact with TB sufferers to help minimise its spread.

“But we also need to get the message across for people to come and actively get themselves tested.

“If you’re suffering any of the symptoms, like having a cough for more than three weeks, then come and see us.”

While the spread of a new, drug-resistant strand of TB has raised alarm bells around the world, experts at The Whittington say most cases in the UK remain “highly treatable”.

Typical symptoms include a persistent cough of more than three weeks, weight loss, night sweats, high temperature, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead and Highgate Express visitors.


We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead and Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?


Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead and Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

   Local advertisers

More news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Ham&High on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Hampstead businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Ham&High, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE