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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB)

Mycobacterium tuberculosis section, in a macrophage. False colours.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.Only the pulmonary form of TB disease is infectious, following prolonged close contact with an infectious case. TB is curable with a combination of specific antibiotics, treated for at least six months.
(Image: © Service photo / Institut Pasteur)

TB is the leading cause of death among curable infectious diseases. The World Health Organization declared TB a global emergency in 1993.

Around 9000 cases of TB are currently reported each year in the United Kingdom. Most cases occur in major cities, particularly in London.

The agency contributes to the elimination of TB in England through supporting the NHS and the Department of Health in the key areas identified for controlling TB in the national Action Plan, Stopping Tuberculosis in England [external link].

The TB Programme co-ordinates activities, including surveillance, laboratory diagnostic and reference services, disease control in the population, international partnership and research.