Asthma + Lung UK links spike in tuberculosis cases to cost of living crisis

Charity highlights link between lung conditions and inequality following a rise in Tuberculosis cases.

Following a rise in reported tuberculosis (TB) cases in England, Professor Nick Hopkinson, Medical Director of Asthma + Lung UK, said:

"Given increasing poverty in the UK, in particular child poverty, the increase in tuberculosis cases is unfortunately not surprising. There is a well-established link between deprivation and poor lung health. TB is associated with deprivation. Poor housing and poor nutrition increase the risk of infection spreading and of people who are infected developing active disease because their immune systems are weakened.

“Smoking also substantially increases the risk of developing TB. Although overall population smoking levels are falling, smoking rates remain higher in more deprived communities. TB is treatable, but people with symptoms need to be able to access healthcare – there have been substantial cuts to public health funding since 2010 which are likely to have made the problem worse. Inequality has impacts across lung diseases, not just for TB. As the cost of living crisis worsens, the government needs to act to ensure people on low incomes, especially those with lung problems can afford prescriptions and have the financial support they need so they can afford essentials like heating and healthy food. Preventing lung disease is much cheaper than treating it."