Thailand: Thousands with TB lack treatment

A third of tuberculosis (TB) sufferers in Thailand are not receiving proper treatment, increasing the risk of spreading the disease and their chances of becoming resistant to multiple treatment drugs.

About 80,000 TB cases were reported in 2012, but about 26,000 were missing out on proper treatment, Department of Disease Control (DDC) deputy director-general Somsak Akksilp said yesterday.

This was because they do not have access to treatment, were not aware that they need to have continual treatment, or could not keep up with the drug regimen required to treat them, he said.

The World Health Organisation says TB remains a major global health problem. An estimated 8.6 million people worldwide developed TB in 2012 and 1.3 million died from the disease.

According to the Bureau of Tuberculosis about 2,190 new cases of multi-drug resistant TB have emerged annually in recent years. Drug resistance arises due to improper use of antibiotics in TB patients.

A patient who develops this drug-resistant strain of the disease can transmit this form of TB to other individuals, which puts an added cost burden on the government for longer treatment, the bureau says.

The DDC recently launched a screening campaign under the theme “Find, Treat, Cure TB” ahead of World TB Day on Monday. Led by DDC director-general Sopon Mekthon, the DDC is running a mobile screening clinic through this week in several locations including major bus terminals and Suvarnabhumi Airport.

“Many people do not know they are infected,” said Dr Sopon. “Early detection will offer a better opportunity for a quicker recovery.”

Source: Bangkok Post

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By Bangkok Post

Published: March 21, 2014, 2:09 p.m.

Last updated: March 21, 2014, 3:32 p.m.

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