TB on the rise in country - Sunday Tribune - Sunday, 24 March, 2002

IPOH - Statistics show an increase in incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) in the country, Perak Health Director, Dr Abdul Razak Kechik said yesterday.

Since 2000 the number of cases increased by 10 per cent throughout the country, he said.

"Although Perak registered a decline in incidence of TB from 1,014 in 2000 to 996 cases for last year, the state has for the last two years recorded an increase in incidence of infectious cases (that damage the lungs) ," he said after launching the World TB Week 2002 event at the Ipoh General Hospital yesterday.

Dr Abdul Razak said for every 100,000 people in Perak, some 50 people were infected with the condition.

He said although majority of TB sufferers were from the Orang Ash, and the low income group especially from the rural areas, the high incidence of TB is also attributed to the increase in incidence of HIV and AIDS.

"TB used to be dominant among the less privileged group but it is now associated with people suffering from AIDS and diabetes," he said.

He said the department had despatched mobile health teams to rural areas and Orang Ash settlements to conduct health checks.

This was necessary since Perak had a large rural population and the second largest Orang Ash population in the country.

"Last year some 60 Orang Ash who were infected with TB were placed in hospitals and health camps nearby," he said.

They were placed under the Directly Observant Therapy Short-course (DOTS) where patients are allowed to undergo treatment with assistance from the family. - Bernama