AWARENESS on tuberculosis (TB) remained low as the death cases increased in Penang from 95 cases in 2014 to 138 last year, said Penang Hospital medical chest consultant Dr Irfhan Ali Hyder Ali.
“This is reflected in the total numberof tuberculosis cases in the state which increased from 1,252 cases in 2014 to 1,283 in 2015.
“The mortality rate nationwide also increased from 1,603 to 1,696 even though the number of tuberculosis cases in Malaysia recorded a drop.
“In 2014, tuberculosis cases in Malaysia was 24,711 and it decreased by 2% to 24,220 last year,” he said when met at the Penang Hospital during the giving out of goodie bags to TB patients last week.
Dr Irfhan said the chances of recovery was as high as 80% to 90% with earlydetection.
“Some patients only detected thecondition after two months, with some finding out after six to eight months.
“Chances for the disease to infect others is quite high as it is transmitted through air and could result in complications such as fibrosis,” he added.
Dr Irfhan advised the public whodisplayed symptoms such as chronic coughs, prolonged coughing or coughing blood to pay a visit to the nearest hospital or healthcare centre as soon as possible.
Other accompanying symptoms might include fever, poor appetite or weight loss.
Malaysian Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis (Penang) vice-president Kong Chok Hua said about 60 goodie bags containing basic food items will be given out at five hospitals in Penang including the Balik Pulau Hospital, Seberang Jaya Hospital, Bukit Mertajam hospital and Sungai Bakap Hospital.
“The gesture is held in conjunction with the World Tuberculosis Day which falls on March 24 annually in a bid to increase public awareness.”