Drug-resistant TB on the rise in the U.K.

The number of drug-resistant cases of tuberculosis that could not be treated by common methods has jumped to 26 percent of cases in the United Kingdom, according to figures from the Health Protection Agency.

There were 342 cases of TB that could not be treated by traditional antibiotics in the United Kingdom in 2010. That number increased to 431 in 2011. There were 8,963 reported cases of TB in the United Kingdom in 2011 compared with 8,410 cases in 2010, Press Association reports.

"Although we are disappointed that there has been an increase in new TB diagnoses in the past year, we are pleased that TB cases overall have been stabilizing since 2005, with around 8,500 to 9,000 new diagnoses each year," Ibrahim Abubakar, the head of TB surveillance for the HPA, said, according to Press Association. "However, the increase in drug-resistant cases remains a concern and a challenge to our efforts to control TB in the UK. TB continues to disproportionately affect those in hard to reach and vulnerable groups, particularly migrants."

TB is a bacterial infection that spreads when infected people speak, sneeze or cough. The symptoms of the disease include chest pain, weight loss, night sweats and a persistent cough.

"In order to reduce TB cases in the future, it's very important that health commissioners, especially in parts of the country with the highest rates of TB, prioritize the delivery of appropriate clinical and public health TB services," Abubakar said, according to Press Association.