SINGAPORE: The number of cases of tuberculosis (TB) has gradually increased over the last few years. Experts are advocating that patients need to stay vigilant, so as to prevent the increase of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Figures from the Health Ministry show there were over 1,560 cases of TB last year, compared to 1,451 cases in 2008. From January to September this year, there were 1,099 new cases of tuberculosis.
The Health Ministry said it has been notified of 1,099 new cases and 90 relapsed cases of TB among Singapore residents. The number of non-residents notified with TB was 491, including 12 relapsed cases.
While experts expect the figure to decrease this year, they said patients must be disciplined when it comes to taking medication, which is usually over a course of six to nine months.
Experts maintained that the key to controlling TB is through early diagnosis.
Professor Sunny Wang, a senior consultant with the tuberculosis control unit at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said: "Maybe people are too busy with work, financial or family commitments. So unless the illness is so acute and debilitating that they cough out blood or have a fever, it might just go on with a cough for a long time and that's not good.
"Thus, I think the medical community has to have a high index of suspicion, to supect TB and to diagnose it." - CNA/ac
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