The number of cases of tuberculosis in the UK is “still too high”, the Health Protection Agency warns today.

Its latest provisional figures show a 2 per cent increase in the number of new cases between 2007 and 2008.

The biggest number of cases was in London, where 3,415 new sufferers were diagnosed in 2008 - up 2 per cent on the year before.

West Midlands surge

But the agency has also used World TB Day to draw attention to the West Midlands, which has the second highest number of cases and saw a 9 per cent surge last year.

HPA tuberculosis expert Ibrahim Abubakar said: “The number of cases in the UK is still too high. The key to halting the health burden which this disease causes the UK is prompt diagnosis and treatment of infectious cases.”

Tuberculosis is more prevalent among deprived communities and the HPA is working with the Department of Health on outreach programmes to reach those groups.