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The World Health Organization’s Global tuberculosis report 2021 acknowledges that TB is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS. 

In 2016, 6.3 million new cases of TB were reported (up from 6.1 million in 2015) and an estimated 10.4 million people developed the disease.

Nurses in all areas of health care are in an ideal position to control the spread of TB by identifying new cases. This can be done by recognising signs, symptoms and risk factors for TB. By supporting patients to complete their treatment and preventing new cases, transmission rates and cases of TB can be reduced.

Early diagnosis can significantly improve patient outcomes, and reduce infection rates.

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. 
  • TB is a notifiable disease in the UK, please see further Public Health England (PHE) guidance on notifiable diseases
  • Pulmonary 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.

TB rates in the UK have continued to rise, prompting Public Health England to identify TB as a key priority. Public Health England has worked closely with NHS England to develop a collaborative Tuberculosis (TB) strategy for England which brings together best practice in clinical care and social support to help strengthen the control of TB.

Public Health England has published Tuberculosis in England 2018 report, (presenting data to the end of 2017). This annual TB report describes the epidemiology of TB in England since the launch of the collaborative strategy. The report is also supported by the following documents:

The National Knowledge Service- Tuberculosis

The National Knowledge Service - Tuberculosis (NKS-TB) has updated its information resources about the treatment, prevention and management of TB in the UK.

These resources are updated with current evidence-based guidance and expert opinion to inform decision-making by professionals, carers and the public with regards the recognition and management of TB. 

A case management tool for TB prevention, care and control in the UK

Guidance for clinical and non-clinical staff involved in the management and care of TB patients.

TB Case Management Forms

These forms were originally published as appendices in A Case Management Tool for TB Prevention, Care and Control in the UK in 2019 (006 194) and have now been extracted for download and use by nurses in managing and caring for patients with TB. 

Managing TB during the COVID-19 pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world significantly in a short space of time, and all of our lives have been affected. The lock down has forced us to live differently and to adapt to different ways of working. This blog describes the huge impact on services such as the management and control of Tuberculosis (TB).


Further resources

Page last updated - 18/01/2024