17,000 TB cases reported in Malaysia in 2009

From Bernama,

PUTRAJAYA: The number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the country has shown a slight increase annually, with 17,000 cases reported last year, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said Tuesday.

He said that of the total, 1,005 patients died while more than 85% completed their treatment.

“There is some slight increase. At one time, we managed to reduce (the number to) very low but it has come up again,” he told a press conference after chairing the second day of the 61st session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific Region meeting at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here.

“We can actually reduce it further,” he added.

Liow said one of the contributing factors to the increasing number of TB cases was the co-infection between TB and HIV.

He said multidrug-resistant TB was also one of the challenges for the Government in reducing TB cases in the country, adding that the important thing in curing the disease was to tackle the TB-HIV co-infection and effective treatment.

Liow said the crucial part in reducing the cases was tracking and following-up with the patient.

Meanwhile, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said the detection of the cases, awareness and ensuring the patient complied with the treatment were crucial.

He said counselling was the most important part before the patient started the treatment, to make sure he got a clear picture of the treatment.

According to the latest WHO estimates, there are approximately 1.9 million TB cases and 260,000 TB deaths each year in the Western Pacific Region. – Bernama

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