Friday, June 22, 2007

Warning symptoms of TB

Star: PENANG: Those who cough persistently for more than two weeks and have thick mucus may be contracting active tuberculosis (TB).
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek warned people to seek immediate medical assistance if they encountered such problems.
“Such patients would have to undergo a screening or X-ray to ensure they have a clean bill of health,” he said.
“It is also our active detection exercise to tackle this infectious disease which showed an increase compared with previous years,” he told reporters at a durian party hosted by the Balik Pulau MCA division at Choo Kar Chong Kar Khoon Physical Culture Institute in Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau, yesterday.
Dr Chua said that of the 16,665 TB cases detected last year, about 20% involved foreign workers.
He said foreign workers were among those who contributed to the rise of TB cases in the country.
He added that states like Sarawak, Sabah, Selangor and Johor registered a high number of TB cases because of the presence of many foreign workers.
The rising number of people with HIV was another reason for the increasing number of TB cases, he said.
“HIV and TB have a close connection. Patients infected with HIV are more vulnerable to TB because of their weakened immune systems,” he added.
Of the 16,665 TB patients, about 1,488, or 9%, were AIDS victims, Dr Chua said.
He said he was also concerned about the emergence of multi-drug resistant TB, which had increased from 17 cases in 2005 to 43 last year.
He said that this form of TB was resistant to two or more of the primary drugs used for treatment.

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