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The World Health Organization declared tuberculosis (TB) to be a global emergency in 1993. Since then there has been a resurgence of TB in England and Wales, particularly in London.1,2 Early diagnosis, particularly of infectious cases, is a major factor in the success of control programmes.3 In the UK, TB continues to disproportionately affect vulnerable groups—including the homeless, illicit drug users, alcoholics, and immigrants recently arrived from high prevalence countries. These groups frequently find it difficult to access appropriate health care and often rely on Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments for healthcare provision. We examined how frequently patients with TB attended the local A&E department before their diagnosis and whether their A&E attendances led to a diagnosis of TB being made.
From January 2001 to March 2002 there were 130 notifications of TB …