Health chiefs have warned of a rise in TB cases as progress in the fight against the disease stalls.
Tuberculosis cases rose by 7 percent in the first half of 2023, with 2,408 warnings recorded compared to 2,251 in the same period in 2022, according to the UK's Health Safety Agency.
Cases are more common in people living in England's big cities and poorer areas, the agency said.
England remains a low incidence country for tuberculosis. However, the public health agency said progress towards eradicating the disease has “stalled”.
Head of TB Unit at UKHSA, Dr Esther Robinson, said: “As we head into winter, it's important to remember that not every persistent cough, along with a fever, is caused by flu or Covid. A cough that usually has mucus and lasts more than 3 weeks can be caused by a number of other problems, including tuberculosis.'
He said TB develops slowly and it can take several weeks, months or even years before an infected person becomes ill.
“Contact your doctor if you think you're at risk so you can get tested and treated,” Dr. Robinson said.
Commenting on UKHSA's warning, David Fothergill, chair of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, said: “TB is a preventable and treatable disease that disproportionately affects vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. Certain groups, such as immigrants and those with social risk factors such as homelessness or a history of incarceration, are more affected.
“Council staff have essential frontline roles in TB control. This includes identifying symptoms, advising health and social care professionals on appropriate infection control as well as responding to TB incidents and TB outbreaks in settings such as schools.”
The public health authority said in a warning on Thursday: “TB is not just a problem for other countries – it is affecting increasing numbers of people at home.
“TB notification rates in England remain higher in people from parts of the world where TB is more common and in large urban areas in England associated with higher levels of deprivation.”