“The problem is the levels of poverty”: London could face TB epidemic warns Richmond health expert

A Tuberculosis epidemic could break out in London and other major cities, warned a Richmond-based health expert.

Professor Denny Mitchison, 96, is a world-renown Tuberculosis expert on whose work has saved millions of lives, said that over the last few years cases of TB have steadily risen.

“The problem with TB in the UK is that it has been rising steadily in the past few years because of people who have lost touch with the National Health Service (NHS),” he said.

“It is a social problem – the problem is the levels of poverty. It’s occurring in the poorer sections of society. So long as inequalities exist, it will prolong.

“Another part of the problem comes from the immigration population when infected people come in knowing that they are still infected.”

prof denny mitchison

Professor Mitchison began his career of tackling the disease in the 1940s when he was involved with the first Medical Research Council study looking into possible treatment with streptomycin.

TB is bacterial infection that is spread through inhaling droplets from the coughs and sneezes of those infected. In 2014 it was reported that one in three people around the world are infected.

Symptoms include a persistent cough, weight loss, night sweats, fever, loss of appetite and swellings.

Professor Mitchison recently retired from St George’s, University of London, where he has been active in the ongoing research of the disease since 1994.

Featured picture courtesy of Lucas Hayas, with thanks

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