HC Deb 19 November 1996 vol 285 cc527-8W
Mr. Martyn Jones

To ask the Secretary of Stale for Health (1) how many confirmed human cases of tuberculosis have been reported in each month since 1978; and if he will make a statement; [4489]

(2) if he will list the annual percentage of confirmed human cases of tuberculosis reported for each year since 1978, by region; [4712]

(3) what was the percentage of children (a) vaccinated and (b) unvaccinated against tuberculosis in each year since 1978 by region. [4726]

Mr. Horam

Information is not held centrally in the forms requested. The number of notifications of tuberculosis to the Office for National Statistics, and formerly the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, are published by local authority in the publications "MB2 Communicable Disease Statistics," annually, and "MB2 Infectious Disease Statistics", quarterly. Numbers of tuberculin skin tests by age and result and BCG vaccination by age are given in the Department of Health's publication, "Vaccination and immunisation, summary information, England". Information in this form has been published annually since 1988. Copies of these publications are available in the Library.

Mr. Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to undertake a programme of vaccination promotion for tuberculosis; and what assessment he has made of the benefits of such a programme. [4463]

Mr. Horam

The Government recommend that Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine to protect against tuberculosis should be routinely offered to all school children the ages of 10 and 14 years. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the United Kingdom health departments on immunisation, reviewed this recommendation and advised that the schools immunisation programme should continue. Ministers have endorsed this and health authorities were advised of the result of the review in July 1996. In addition, immunisation continues to be offered to certain high-risk groups outside the routine school programme, including babies born to parents from countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis.

The Health Education Authority published an information leaflet for parents about BCG immunisation for schoolchildren last year. This is currently being revised and will be qualitatively evaluated later this year. The Department of Health is also funding a pilot project to provide appropriate and non-intimidating information about tuberculosis for asylum seekers and refugees. The BCG programme has been a main plank of the UK's successful tuberculosis control programme.