Tuberculosis (TB) showed an alarming rise in Britain last year with ethnic South Asians, especially Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, accounting for most cases.
According to figures released by Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA), there was a 10.8 percent increase in TB cases in Britain, with 8,113 cases in 2005 as against 7,321 in 2004.
The highest proportion of cases, 38 percent, was reported among people from Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds.
"The largest increase was seen among patients not born in the UK, who accounted for 5,310 cases," John Watson, head of the HPA's respiratory diseases department, said.
According to the figures, London had the highest proportion of cases in 2005 (43 percent), having increased from 3,129 in 2004 to 3,479 in 2005. The regions with the highest number of new cases were the North West (588 in 2004 to 757 cases in 2005), East Midlands (443 in 2004 to 556 in 2005) and the East of England (395 in 2004 to 483 in 2005).
The sharp rise in TB cases in Britain has raised concern among health workers.
TB was the biggest killer disease in Britain during the 19th century.
The disease is preventable and treatable. It usually spreads when somebody with the infection coughs or sneezes. It affects the lungs and sometimes other parts of the body. The symptoms include fever and night sweats, a persistent cough, losing weight and coughing or spitting blood.