Diagnosis and treatment

Tuberculosis (TB) is still a significant public health problem in the UK. The number of new cases each year have come down over the last four years, but we still have some of the highest rates of TB in Europe, with London having a high number of cases compared to other European capital cities.

TB can affect anyone, but is more common in people from certain ethnic minorities and people from deprived backgrounds. If TB is identified early and treated effectively with the right antibiotics, it can almost always be cured. It does require the person with TB to take antibiotics as instructed for at least six months.

TB is unusual because you can have it in a latent form, which means it doesn't cause any symptoms. In a very small number of people it can become active again, causing you to become ill and pass it on to other people. We can do a simple blood (or skin) test to identify if you have this latent infection, and would benefit from a three month course of preventative antibiotic treatment to reduce the risk of the latent infection coming back to life.

Information leaflets on our service and TB are available from our department, including leaflets on treatment in a number of different languages.

You can find out more about TB on NHS Choices.