A recent study published in Eurosurveillance has found that TB in western Europe is concentrated in big cities. Moreover, the research also found that while the number of TB cases continues to reduce in some countries in Europe the rate of TB within some the region’s largest cities continues to increase.  This is a marked change where rates of TB are showing an overall reduction but, conversely, an increase in big cities.

Jonathan Stillo- Back of a sanatorium and worker's housing blockThe study looked into cities with populations greater than 500,000 from across the EU and concluded that in many cases the rate of TB in big cities was twice the rate of the countries national TB incidence.

Much of this can be attributed to TB mainly affecting certain high risk urban groups, including homeless people and those with previous drugs and alcohol misuse.

Ibrahim Abubakar, Public Health England’s head of TB and Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at UCL made note of this when saying:

Elimination of TB in European big cities requires control measures focused on addressing the diversity of individuals in urban populations and efforts to target TB must drive right down to local and regional level where unique experience of how to reduce the infection can be shared and built upon.

A working group has now been set up with the intent of seeking ways to address this problem. Recently, the group has drawn up a study describing the particular complexities of major EU cities creating specific opportunities for the transmission of TB.

You can read more on the study here.