The Tuberculosis (TB) Annual Report for Scotland, published today by Public Health Scotland (PHS), shows that 225 TB cases (4.1 cases per 100,000 population) were reported to PHS in 2021. This represents a 4.9% increase in annual incidence compared to 2020 when there were 3.9 cases per 100,000 population (214 cases). This increase is the first since 2010 and follows ten consecutive annual decreases in incidence since 2010.
TB incidence was highest among males aged 35 to 44 years (10.3 cases per 100,000 population) and males aged 25 to 34 years (9.3 cases per 100,000 population). Deprivation is a clear factor; with almost a third (32.0%) of cases reported in 2021 being resident in the most deprived areas of Scotland, compared to 10.4% of cases reported in the least deprived areas.
Dr Nick Phin, Director of Public Health Science and Medical Director at Public Health Scotland, said:
“The World Health Organization through its 'End TB Strategy' requires each country, based on their 2015 figures, to achieve a 90% reduction in TB incidence by 2035. The interim target of a 20% reduction in incidence by 2020 has been met and exceeded in Scotland and Scotland has achieved a 34.3% reduction. Although this is good news, we should not be complacent, as the rise in incidence in 2021 has demonstrated. Achieving the next target of a 50% reduction by 2025 compared to our 2015 data is going to be challenging and this report identifies a need for further investigation and monitoring to improve how we manage cases.
“Typical symptoms of TB include a persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm - which may be bloody, weight loss, night sweats, high temperature, tiredness and fatigue, loss of appetite and new swellings that haven't gone away after a few weeks. You should see a GP if you have a cough that lasts more than three weeks or if you cough up blood.”