Like all 13 or 14 year olds of my generation in the UK I had my BCG vaccination while I was at High School. I remember that we all compared our scars for months afterwards. We believed at that time that TB – like smallpox – could be eradicated from our society.
TB, or consumption, was supposed to be an illness of poverty of times gone by. In Victorian Britain it was known as ‘the silent killer’ and as many as one in four deaths was attributable to TB. So high was the TB death rate, in fact, that TB has been estimated to have killed more people than any other infectious disease in human history.
Last Thursday I instigated a short debate in the House of Lords on what the Government is doing to reduce rates of TB in the UK. Baroness Sarah Ludford also spoke in the debate and focussed on the particularly high incidence of TB in London and Baroness Judith Jolly replied for the Government.
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