Nearly 65% of new TB cases last year were infectious

  • Nation
  • Monday, 12 Mar 2007

KUCHING: More than 10,200 new tuberculosis cases detected in the country last year were infectious. 

The figure made up nearly 65% of the 16,665 new cases registered nationwide, according to a paper on Malaysia’s national tuberculosis control programme. 

The paper was presented at the three-day meeting of managers for countries with high burden of TB in the western Pacific Region which began at Holiday Inn Hotel here on Monday. 

The event was organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) western Pacific Region in collaboration with the Heath Ministry, Sarawak state Health Department and National Tuberculosis Control Programme. 

The paper said the incidence of TB (all forms) was 62.6 per 100,000 population and the incidence rate of infectious form was 38.6 per 100,000 population last year. 

“In 2006, 1,853 new cases or 11% of the total new cases were registered among foreigners. 

“Data obtained from the mandatory screening programme conducted on foreigners wanting to work in Malaysia show that TB is the highest number among the infectious disease detected among them,” it added. 

The paper said there were a high percentage of defaulters and abandoned treatment cases among foreigners, ex-prisoners and inmates of rehabilitation centres. 

“TB is the leading killer of people infected with HIV, and up to 50% of people with HIV or AIDS develop the disease. 

“In 1990, there were six cases of TB/HIV reported with one death. This has increased to 1,103 cases last year. TB/HIV cases contribute about 6.7% of the total number of TB cases.” 

On BCG vaccination, the paper said all newborns, including immigrant babies, were vaccinated, and that last year’s coverage was 98.9%. 

The paper said with the integration of the TB programme into the general health services, it was hoped that better implementation of directly observed treatment short-course could be carried out. 

Mobile teams need to be strengthened especially for difficult-to-reach areas and among the orang asli. 

“In view of the increasing number of multiple drug resistant TB emerging in many countries, Malaysia has to keep a close surveilance on this even though it is not yet a problem here,” added the paper 

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