Over 20K TB cases recorded in Bicol

The Department of Health’s Center for Health Development in Bicol (DOH-5) reported that a total of 20,146 cases of tuberculosis (TB) were detected in the Bicol region in 2021, but nine in 10 patients of the drug-susceptible strain of the infectious disease were cured.


During a dialogue with the media on March 8, Lilian Rose Contessa Encisa, senior health program officer of DOH-5, said the treatment success rate of the detected cases was 92 percent for drug-susceptible TB (DSTB) strain and 76 percent for drug-resistant TB (DRTB) variant.


According to Encisa, TB is one of the top 10 causes of mortality in the Bicol region.


TB is an infectious disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, but it is preventable and curable, Encisa said.


The disease can be transmitted “when a person inhales bacteria from a person with TB through coughing, sneezing, spitting, and talking,” she added.


Its signs and symptoms include cough for two weeks or more, unexplained fever, unexplained weight loss, and night sweats, which must be consulted with a health professional.


“’Pag mayroon po tayong signs and symptoms [ng TB] na nakita po natin doon, pumunta po agad tayo sa malapit nating health center at magpakonsulta po agad tayo, ” Encisa said.


Encisa said acquiring tuberculosis is not permanent, stressing that its 6-month regimen must be done continuously during that period by a TB patient.


She also disclosed that their agency conducts active case finding, wherein they visit different barangays and close settings including jails and offer free chest X-ray examinations.


The theme for this year’s celebration of World TB Day is “Invest to end TB. Save Lives.” (Diane E. Pitallano/Bicol University Intern/PIA5)