Rising tuberculosis cases in EV prompt health dept's call for vigilance

Rising tuberculosis cases in EV prompt health dept's call for vigilance

Increasing tuberculosis cases in Eastern Visayas lead the DOH to urge preventive measures. Photo: DOH/Facebook

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) has sounded the alarm over a surge in tuberculosis (TB) cases across Eastern Visayas, underscoring the need for heightened preventive actions to curb the spread of the disease.

Caryl Lapriza, the DOH regional TB nurse coordinator, shared during the DOH's radio program last Friday that approximately 3,266 individuals received a TB diagnosis in the first quarter of 2023.

Lapriza further highlighted the escalating trend, revealing that in 2022, 12,931 TB cases were documented—significantly surpassing the 9,171 cases registered in 2021. According to the region's data, TB ranks as the area's ninth leading cause of death.

While the DOH regional information office currently lacks precise data on the number of fatalities attributed to TB, Lapriza reiterated the importance of early intervention. For those exhibiting TB symptoms, she emphasized seeking medical consultation promptly and diligently adhering to the prescribed treatment spanning six to twelve months. Notably, treatment is offered at no cost within rural health units.

Lapriza's reminder extended to the crucial significance of completing the full treatment regimen. Neglecting or misusing anti-TB medications can pave the way for drug-resistant TB, which arises when patients fail to complete their treatment course.

Among the most common indicators of TB are persistent cough, particularly accompanied by evening fever, night sweats, chest discomfort, unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, and coughing up blood.

Explaining the mode of transmission, Lapriza highlighted that TB primarily spreads through the inhalation of infected air particles during close contact. Infected individuals release the bacteria into the air through coughing, sneezing, shouting, or spitting. Even the simple act of inhaling minuscule droplets carrying the infected sputum suspended in the air can lead to infection. The disease can even be contracted by touching contaminated surfaces or contacting an infected person.

With the Philippines commemorating National Tuberculosis Awareness Month this August, the DOH is actively working to raise public consciousness regarding TB. This annual observance aims to reduce the prevalence of TB and associated deaths in the country by fostering a more informed and vigilant populace. —iTacloban (Source: PNA)

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