Van with X-ray machine to find TB in London
LONDON (AP) - London is famed for its historic sites, its double-decker buses and its West End shows, but the city now has a more dubious distinction: Britain's public health agency says it has become the tuberculosis capital of Western Europe.
In response, health officials are taking to the streets in an effort to stop the spread of the infectious lung disease. A high-tech white van equipped with an X-ray machine is driving around London offering free check-ups.
Similar vans were once common in Europe and the U.S. in the 1950s but most disappeared about two decades later when TB rates dropped. But in recent years, the disease has surged in the U.K.
Last year, London had about 3,500 TB cases - more than the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Norway combined. It also had more TB than some African countries, including Eritrea and Gambia.
Britain as a whole however still pales against India, China and South Africa, which all have hundreds of thousands of TB cases.