With it being TB awareness Month it is no surprise that the headlines are filled with TB articles and statistics.

A recent News24 article however brought to light a new strain of TB which is sending shock waves across the nation.

This new strain of TB is incurable, and completely unresponsive to any antibiotics used to treat Drug Resistant TB (XDR TB).
The affected patients were being kept in isolation in order to prevent the spread of the strain, but some patients have been discharged into the care of their families.

The Director of TB Control; Mr. David Mametja was quoted saying “We realise the risks of releasing a person who has incurable TB into the community, but we have to consider the personal needs of the patient. People with XDR TB stay in hospitals for long periods.

“Often, the specialised facilities where they are treated are remote, meaning they are removed from their families, which then affects them psychologically, leading to some absconding or developing poor treatment outcomes”.

Based on the information above, it is clear that we have a long road ahead of us in finding a cure for XRD TB and stopping  the spread of TB as a whole.

It cannot be left to the medical fraternity alone to fight the battle against TB. We must be vigilant and educate all employees to be aware of the signs and symptoms of TB and what can be done to prevent the spread of the disease.

Tip of the Month

Prevention is the first step in fighting TB, here are a few things you can do to prevent the spread of TB.

– Cover your mouth when you cough.

– Immunisation of babies at a clinic within the first year after birth.

– Eat balanced meals consisting of food like meat, eggs, fish, beans, amasi, brown bread, maize meal, vegetables, fruits etc.

– Alcohol should be avoided because it lowers body resistance and affects the treatment.

– Stop smoking. Smoking causes damage to the lungs and can cause heart disease and lung cancer.

– Get some fresh air, sunshine, exercise and living in a clean environment.