Britain Will Be ‘Swamped’ by TB Unless High-Risk Immigrants Are Routinely Given Blood Tests, Experts Warn

Anna Hodgekiss, Daily Mail (London), December 7, 2012

A leading doctor has warned that Britain will be ‘swamped’ by tuberculosis unless new measures to diagnose the disease in immigrants are introduced.

The disease, which was rife in Britain until the 1950s, is an increasing and worrying problem in urban areas. Rising immigration has seen a surge in cases in the last 20 years.

Under current rules, new immigrants from countries where TB is common are required to have chest X-rays before being allowed into Britain.

But doctors argue this century-old method only spots active TB once it is already destroying the lungs – meaning cases are often diagnosed far too late.

Other countries such as the U.S. use a blood test, which can detect the latent TB in those not displaying any symptoms. Cases have fallen since this technique was introduced in 2007.

At the British Thoracic Society conference this week, Peter Davies of the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, said urgent changes were needed to halt the decades-long rise in TB cases.

He told The Times: ‘The tide has been coming in for 20 years, it’s been getting bigger and bigger and if we don’t do something we will be swamped with TB as we were 100 years ago.’

TB is caused by a bacterium that spreads through saliva. The disease used to be known as consumption because the bacterium ate holes in the lungs. From 50,000 cases a year in Britain in the 1950s, the rate fell to 5,000 in the 1980s.
Last year there were just over 9,000 cases of TB – a five per cent increase on the year before, according to figures from the Health Protection Agency.

The main risk area is still London with 3,588 cases reported in 2011, accounting for 40 per cent of the UK total. And nearly three quarters of those suffering the disease were those not born in the UK.

Professor Davies and his peers recommend that people from the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa, where rates are highest, should be given the blood test when registering with a GP. Those found to have latent TB can easily eliminate it with a course of antibiotics.

Speaking about the blood test, he said:  ‘It’s a no-brainer. If we screen for latent TB we would eliminate the majority of cases of people coming into this country. Now we’ve got the blood tests, for goodness’ sake let’s use them.’

He added that with TB claiming up to 500 deaths a year, the numbers were as many as HIV. The homeless and drug addicts should also be screened because new infections have become more common among these groups, he continued.

Mike Mandlebaum, chief executive of the charity TB Alert, said: ‘The truth is that TB never really went away in the UK and has been steadily rising here, from around 5,000 cases a year at the end of the Eighties to 8,500 in 2007/8.

‘TB is a disease usually associated with certain high-risk groups such as those with HIV, those from Eastern bloc countries and Asia, and those living in crowded living conditions. But anyone can get it.’

Onn Min Kon, a consultant at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, said that rates of the disease are continuing to rise and that the UK has the highest rates in Europe.

Echoing the sentiments of Mr Mandlebaum, he said even low risk people are susceptible if the disease is out of control, it being possible to become infected by being in the same room as someone with TB.

He added that  people should not become careless about the risks because they didn’t fit the traditional demographic of someone who gets the disease.

His research has found that a fifth of immigrants to Britain from high-risk areas had latent TB – but the current guidelines for screening men around 75 per cent of these cases will be missed, so the real figure may be substantially higher.

The Department of Health said that in line with NICE guidance, the NHS currently uses both chest X-ray screening and blood-testing to check for TB, with the evidence for new technologies kept under review.’

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  • Puggg

    “Routinely given blood tests.”

    Then the drop a positive test. Then what? Will they be made to go home?

    Probably not.

    So what’s the use of the blood test?

    • David Ashton

      To provide NHS hospital treatment for them and eventually all the sick people in the world who come to Britain.

      • Non Humans

        Exactly. Instead of turning their sick-ass around and out, they will treat them at the taxpayers’ expense. As a HC worker, I am very familiar with TB.

        It is extremely hard to kill, even with the best medicines. They can treat you to the point of asymptomatic, but it can live for long periods in a dormant state, even worse, it could be in an abscess, or other isolated pocket inside the body, eating tissues that don’t have a blood supply (due to damage), or itself not exposed to the blood supply, thus not exposed to the treatment. They could finish the meds and then become contagious again in a matter of weeks to months.

        Outside of a host, the Mycobacterium Tuberculae can lie dormant on nearly any surface for long periods (don’t remember exactly how long) because it has a tough waxy outer membrane.

  • fakeemail

    It’s okay, the native British citizens want to get TB in equal numbers as the immigrants. Wouldn’t want their to be disparate impact, now would we?

  • I was driving on the freeway in California years ago, and a mexican man drove past me in his truck. I turned to look at him, and his face had been eaten away by leprosy.

    Here is an article from 2005 stating that in 5 years, cases of leprosy doubled in the U.S.

  • George White

    Not just Britain. When I had my TB test here in Los Angeles, I asked the nurse if she’d had any of the incurable TB cases (I’d just seen a documentary on the topic) she said that yes, she has had cases of the really bad one, as well as numerous cases of regular TB, coming from mexicans and central americans. So, on top of drugs and gangs and murder and welfare we have diseases that we had eradicated long ago, thanks to our lovely friends from the south.

    • Joseph

      Don’t forget typhoid, malaria, bedbugs, chagas disease, typhus, leprosy. Isn’t diversity enriching?

  • kjh64

    The problem is today’s TB is often drug resistant which makes this especially dangerous. More “benefits” of 3rd world immigration.

    • Joseph

      Not only immigrants but also the many HIV+ homosexuals with TB or MAC who are usually on numerous antimicrobial drugs for extended periods of time but that too, is politically incorrect to point out. Perhaps THE major cause of death in these persons is mycobacterium avium complex, a related organism and treated with some of the same antibiotics.

  • The__Bobster

    Remember the old “no spitting” signs that used to be mounted inside buses? They were there to help prevent the spread of TB. Then they were no longer needed, so they were removed. I hope they were saved.

  • dhs

    Social workers who deal with addictions, have told me that a problem that they often face is getting the addicted to admit their addictions. The addicts focus on the symptoms: disease, decay of personal relationships, loss of capacities, etc. They may try to eliminate these symptoms, but will not confront the underlying cause: the addiction.

    I think this article shows the same pattern. The symptom is TB among the immigrants. The Brits will address this problem. They will not address the problem of insane immigration policies, which are the cause of this catastrophe and many others.

  • Sloppo

    What? I thought I was supposed to “celebrate” the arrival of more destructive foreign organisms which threaten to wipe out our civilization. Does that policy only apply when the organisms are human?

  • KenelmDigby

    Most of Britain’s immigrants come from the Indian subcontinent.
    This is nothing new. It has been going on for years – at least 50 years. Usually, the powers-that-be go to great lengths to hide these facts and pull the wool over the eyes of the public, they’d rather risk a TB epidemic than hinder the mass, uncontrolled, unlimited immigration of subcontinentals.

    • Joseph

      Another fun aspect is that they simply don’t test for TB as many people from India are vaccinated so they cannot be tested by conventional means as those vaccinated will likely give a false-positive thus HIDING the true incidence among all of them.

  • bigone4u

    I haven’t kept up with the news over the years, but South Texas has periodic outbreaks of third world diseases, including TB and typhoid if memory serves me right. Ironically, no one seems in the least bit concerned, not middle class whites nor politicians. I am extremely reluctant to eat in restaurants, even McDonalds, Olive Garden, and such, because the type of folks who work that business are quite likely to be disease prone. As we know, sometimes minority revenge involves spitting in food like Jesse Jackson.

  • mobilebay

    I’d love to know what drives the leaders of countries to allow foreign invasion. Do they plead humanitarianism? Human rights? Do they not know that today’s immigration is primarily from third world countries and that it will submerge their nations in debt, crime and unrest? Do they hate their own people so much that they want to replace them? Or do they tell the truth – they are able to pay low wages to the invaders who will be eternally grateful with their votes as soon as they become “law-abiding” citizens.

    • Sloppo

      To answer your questions, yes, yes, YES, YES, and no. The global elitists own most of our political puppet “leaders” and want to destroy successful first world countries because they believe that will make the populations more ready to accept an all-controlling global government. The population of a prosperous country with a happy population of ethnically homogeneous citizens would be unlikely to want to be ruled by some government run by by far-away foreigners who care little about the citizens of that prosperous country. On the other hand, when populations become ethnically mixed until national heritages are irrelevant, and when multiculturalism creates perpetual conflict which many consider to be unbearable … people will clamor for an ultra-powerful global government which will have the power to monitor and crack down on all unauthorized human activities. Many people will not care so much about the freedom they will lose … they will just want a government that will have the power to control the chaos. Our young people are being indoctrinated to look to the government for the answer to everything. They’re being taught that their heritage is evil and should be destroyed. They’re being taught that national sovereignty is “outdated”. They’re being taught to think of themselves as “global citizens”. The writing is on the wall for us if we can read it.

      • bigone4u

        Absolutely on target you are. I would add that somehow someone is making a lot of money out of the chaos.

  • mendells-selection

    Britain is already swamped with TNB

  • Michael_C_Scott

    Also in the news, the UK will be declaring the transmission of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis a “basic human right”.

    Buy British Last.

  • Greg Thomas

    Of course, simply keeping the hordes of third-world “immigrants” out is not an option.

  • Church of Bob

    Good enough for the spawn of Churchill.