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Posts tagged ‘Tuberculosis’

Subra: One patient can potentially infect 10 people

KUALA LUMPUR: As many as 10 people can be infected by just one Tuberculosis (TB) patient if no precautionary measures are taken to contain the spread of the disease.

Last year, 24,071 TB cases were reported, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

“At the moment, we are still able to control the spread of the disease.

“If the disease is not controlled, this means it can increase up to 240,710 cases, but that is the theoretical risk,” said Dr Subramaniam at the launch of the national level World TB Day at Pasar Raja Bot in Chow Kit yesterday.

He said compared to 2012, there was a 6% increase in the number of TB cases reported and a 13% increase in the number of deaths due to the disease in 2013.

In 2012, there were 22,710 TB cases reported with 1,414 deaths while in 2013, there were 1,597 who died due to TB.

Subramaniam said the influx of foreigners was said to be one of the contributing factors for the rise of the disease.

He said it is difficult to detect the bacteria as illegal immigrants were not screened before entering the country.

In the cases reported last year, 14% were foreigners and 86% were Malaysians.

Sabah had the highest number with 4,526 TB cases reported, followed by Selangor (4,148 cases), Sarawak (2,673 cases) and Johor (2,247 cases).

Subramaniam said the challenge is in identifying those with the Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB and treating them to help prevent the spread of it.

He added that his ministry had beefed up campaigns and promotions on TB by setting up kiosks at every district nationwide to create more awareness on the disease.

TB is a contagious airborne disease which is still posing a major health problem worldwide.

The World Health Organisation estimates that nine million people suffer from TB with one million people dying due to the disease.

The control of TB relies upon

prevention through the Bacillus Cal­mette-Guérin or BCG vaccination.

BCG vaccine has been used worldwide as a neonatal vaccination against severe forms of TB.

via Subra: One patient can potentially infect 10 people – Nation | The Star Online.

Health Ministry to wipe out TB by 2050


KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry is committed to eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2050 as envisaged under the Strategic Plan for TB Control 2011-2015.

Director-general of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the TB detection rate had surpassed dengue, putting the disease at the top of the infectious disease list in the country.

“Controlling and eliminating TB is our main agenda as it has become the most common infectious disease with the highest number of deaths.”

He said this at the launching of the Clinical Practice Guidelines on Management of Tuberculosis (3rd Edition) and World TB Day 2013 with the theme “Stop TB in my lifetime”.

The World Health Organisation Global Tuberculosis Report 2012 reported that there were 8.7 million new TB cases, 1.4 million deaths because of the disease in 2011 and 500,000 new cases with 64,000 deaths among children around the globe.

In Malaysia last year, 22,710 cases were detected and treated, with an increase in case detection from 81 per cent in 2010 to 98 per cent last year.

It was reported that there were about 1,600 deaths last year because of this infection.

Selangor, Sarawak and Sabah recorded the highest number of cases.

Noor Hisham said the plan would strengthen the TB control programme with new approaches, such as providing TB drugs in private healthcare facilities for free.

“We want to ensure TB patients get access to treatment easier and nearer to their homes.”

He added that other strategies, such as education and creating awareness of TB in health facilities, were ongoing.

He said the ministry was committed to controlling TB.

March 24 is celebrated every year as World TB Day.

It was when the germ causing TB was announced to the world by Dr Robert Koch in Berlin, Germany.

Read more: Health Ministry to wipe out TB by 2050 – General – New Straits Times

Sunshine vitamin ‘may help treat tuberculosis’

By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News

The body makes vitamin D when it is out in the sun

Vitamin D could help the body fight infections of deadly tuberculosis, according to doctors in London.

Nearly 1.5 million people are killed by the infection every year and there are concerns some cases are becoming untreatable.

A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed patients recovered more quickly when given both the vitamin and antibiotics.

More tests would be needed before it could be given to patients routinely.

The idea of using vitamin D to treat tuberculosis (TB) harks back to some of the earliest treatments for the lung infection.

Before antibiotics were discovered, TB patients were prescribed “forced sunbathing”, known as heliotherapy, which increased vitamin D production.

However, the treatment disappeared when antibiotics proved successful at treating the disease.


Drug resistance

There is widespread concern about tuberculosis becoming resistant to antibiotics.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3.4% of new cases of TB are resistant to the two main drug treatments – known as multiple drug resistant tuberculosis.

That figure rises to nearly 20% for people who have been infected multiple times in their lives.

One analysis said that in some countries about half of all cases were resistant.

There is also concern about extensively drug resistant tuberculosis, which is resistant to the back-up drugs as well.

The WHO says 9.4% of all drug-resistant TB is extensively drug resistant.

In this study, patients all had non-resistant TB. The researchers said adding vitamin D to treatments may be even more valuable for patients when the drugs do not work as well.

Heal faster

This study on 95 patients, conducted at hospitals across London, combined antibiotics with vitamin D pills.

It showed that recovery was almost two weeks faster when vitamin D was added. Patients who stuck to the regimen cleared the infection in 23 days on average, while it took patients 36 days if they were given antibiotics and a dummy sugar pill.

Dr Adrian Martineau, from Queen Mary University of London, told the BBC: “This isn’t going to replace antibiotics, but it may be a useful extra weapon.

“It looks promising, but we need slightly stronger evidence.”

Trials in more patients, as well as studies looking at the best dose and if different forms of vitamin D are better, will be needed before the vitamin could be used by doctors.

Vitamin D appears to work by calming inflammation during the infection. An inflammatory response is an important part of the body’s response to infection.

During TB infection, it breaks down some of the scaffolding in the lungs letting more infection-fighting white blood cells in. However, this also creates tiny cavities in the lungs in which TB bacteria can camp out.

“If we can help these cavities to heal more quickly, then patients should be infectious for a shorter period of time, and they may also suffer less lung damage,” Dr Martineau said.

The doctors suggested this might also help in other lung diseases such as pneumonia and sepsis.

Prof Peter Davies, the secretary of the charity TB Alert, said the findings were “excellent” and vitamin D could play “an important role in treating tuberculosis”.

However, he thought there could be an even greater role in preventing the disease.

One in three people have low levels of tuberculosis bacteria in their lungs and have no symptoms, known as latent tuberculosis. However, this would turn to full blown TB in about 10% of people. Prof Davies’s idea is that giving vitamin D supplements, for example in milk, could prevent latent TB developing.

“That would be a massive revolution if it was shown to work,” he said.

Prof Alison Grant, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “Drug-resistant TB is an increasing concern world-wide and so new treatments to reduce the length of TB treatment would be very welcome.

“Vitamin D supplements are often given to patients who are short of vitamin D and these low doses are generally very safe.

“In this study the researchers were giving higher doses of vitamin D, and I think we would need larger studies to be confident that there were no negative effects of this higher dose.”


Hope to breathe easy

source: NST

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