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Persistent cough may be tuberculosis not Covid, doctor warns

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The UK's top public health doctor says anyone with a persistent cough and fever should not dismiss it as Covid - and should consider other infectious illnesses like tuberculosis (TB).

Dr Jenny Harries' warning comes as provisional data shows there were 4,430 cases recorded in England in 2021, despite sharp declines in recent years.

Charities are calling for more funding to tackle the disease around the world. They say the pandemic and conflicts have set back progress worldwide.

In 2020, global deaths because of tuberculosis ranked second to Covid for any infectious disease.

The charity Stop TB Partnership warns the war in Ukraine could have "devastating impacts on health services", including the country's strong national TB treatment programme.

The charity is urging all countries to put facilities in place urgently so refugees can be given the care they need.

In the UK a requirement for Ukrainians to take a TB test before arrival has been waived for those who are coming to the country on the family scheme visa. Refugees arriving on the scheme will get medical care and testing via GPs.

Meanwhile Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said delayed diagnosis and treatment, particularly during the pandemic, will have increased the number of undetected cases in England.

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Source: BBC News, 24 March 2022

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