Scientists from the University of Warwick will be helping to promote an important public health message about tuberculosis (TB) this weekend in Coventry.
On World TB Day (Saturday 24 March) researchers from the Fullam lab at the University of Warwick will be running a public information stand at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery to help raise awareness of TB and what they are trying to do to combat this deadly disease. They will also be at Coventry Library on Tuesday 27 March.
Dr Fullam from the University of Warwick said: “Tuberculosis is the number one cause of death from infectious disease in the world, but many people in the UK are under the impression it has been eradicated. Unfortunately it has not. Worldwide there three deaths from TB every minute and 10.4 million new TB cases annually. There are over 6,000 cases of TB in the UK every year. It is really important for people to be aware of TB to help with getting the disease diagnosed faster to stop TB spreading further and infecting more people.
Dr Collette Guy, a chemist from Dr Fullam’s lab at the University of Warwick said “We also have the added complication that more and more strains of TB have become multi-drug resistant, which makes it much harder and more expensive to treat with the few effective antibiotics we have. Worryingly, there are now cases of TB which are completely resistant to all of the drugs that are currently available and this means that unfortunately these people will die of this disease.
“With world travel becoming more accessible for more people and antibiotic resistance becoming more and more widespread, there is an urgent need to find new ways of controlling this deadly disease. That is what we are hoping that our research at Warwick will lead to.”
Dr Fullam’s research team will be talking to people about the symptoms of TB, how it is transmitted and what to do if you are worried. They will also be discussing their research which aims to give an improved understanding of the bacteria that causes TB and how we can target it with new antibiotics.
Facts and figures:
- TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- One third of the world population is thought to be infected with TB.
- In 2016 there were 6,165 reported TB cases in the UK, 721 of these were in the West Midlands.
- You can have latent TB or active TB – 5-10% of latent cases turn into an active infection. In the case of TB and HIV co-infection the TB reactivation number increases to 50%.
- There were an estimated 10.4 million new cases of TB - and 1.7 million deaths from disease - in 2016.
- The bacteria that cause TB are becoming increasingly resistant to treatments – estimated 600,000 cases and 240,000 deaths in 2016 were from drug-resistant infections.
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