WEST Middlesex Hospital has teamed up with specialists from across London to discuss how to tackle tuberculosis rates in Hounslow, which are among the highest in the capital.
Staff from the hospital in Isleworth hosted a forum last week on the disease, which affects about one in a thousand people across the borough every year.
TB specialists from West Mid met with experts from across London and further afield, as well as Brentford & Isleworth MP Mary Macleod.
Hounslow has among the highest rates of TB in the capital, according to the West Mid's figures, with 80-127 people affected per 100,000 compared with just 20-40 in neighbouring Richmond.
Hounslow's proximity to Heathrow and its 'transient' local population are believed to contribute to rising rates of the disease in the borough.
Ms Macleod said: "It's really essential that work is done across the local healthcare community to raise awareness of TB, especially as Hounslow is particularly vulnerable to this potentially life-threatening disease.
"TB is often a taboo subject, which is completely unjustified. Visiting the TB team at West Mid last week was enlightening and further proved to me that TB can affect anybody, old or young.
"It's essential people aren't afraid to visit their local GP if they suffer from any TB-related symptoms."
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterial infection and usually attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body.
It is spread through the air when people with the disease cough, sneeze or spit. Cramped housing, poor sanitation and homeless can all help it spread.
Although easily treatable in most cases, it can prove fatal if not diagnosed in time.
West Mid has three TB clinical nurse specialists and a TB Lead, Consultant Dr Helen Burgess.
Faustina Annan-Addae, one of the specialist TB Nurses, said: "If you have symptoms of pulmonary TB, including coughing, fatigue, lack of appetite and a fever, I highly recommend visiting your GP, especially if you have a cough that persists for more than three weeks, or if you cough up blood."