TAIPING: There is a rising number of tuberculosis cases in the state, with 11 students at a boarding school here diagnosed with the disease recently.
State Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said there were 1,666 cases recorded last year, compared to 1,554 in 2012.
“In 2013, there were 1,573 cases, followed by 1,611 in 2014 and 1,657 in 2015.
“As of Monday, we have recorded 453 cases so far this year with seven deaths,” he told reporters after visiting Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) here yesterday.
Tuberculosis, said Dr Mah, has a higher mortality rate than dengue.
“Of the 1,666 tuberculosis cases last year, we recorded 69 deaths. We have more dengue cases with 3,777 cases but there were only 10 deaths,” he said.
On the students diagnosed with tuberculosis at MRSM Taiping, he said one male student had recovered while the other 10 were still being treated.
“The first case was diagnosed in August last year while the latest was detected on April 4 through active screening.
“All the 10 students – seven boys and three girls – are responding well to medicine. They are going about as normal and should fully recover after six months,” he said, adding that they were from Form Four and Five.
“There’s no need for them to be isolated. Once they are on treatment, it is not infectious,” said Dr Mah.
“We’ve also checked their immediate family members and all are clear,” he added.
Dr Mah advised parents to immunise their children against the disease, adding that 50 students refused BCG jabs last year.
“A boarding school is usually high risk due to the close proximity of the living environment. The school is also taking proactive steps to ensure better ventilation and proper lighting in the dormitories,” he said.
Dr Mah said there were also medical practitioners who did not inform the state Health Department of the cases although tuberculosis was categorised as a notifiable disease.