News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Tuberculosis still a real health threat

Tuberculosis still a real health threat

More than 400 people were diagnosed with tuberculosis in New Zealand last year, underlining the need to stay alert for the signs, symptoms and treatment of the disease the Ministry of Health says.

Dr Douglas Lush, Acting Director of Public Health, says New Zealand still averages about 400 cases of TB each year. Last year there were 418 cases.

"Many New Zealanders may be of the view that this disease is something for other countries to worry about, but it is still a health issue for us - and for many other countries," he said.

"The best way to prevent TB is to find, treat and cure people who have it. " People who have a cough for longer than two weeks, weight loss and night sweats should see their doctor - particularly if anyone else in their household has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

"Tracing the contacts of people newly diagnosed with tuberculosis can identify further cases, as well as identifying people who have been infected, don't have TB but may develop it. These people can take medication to prevent them getting TB," Dr Lush said.

According to the World Health Organization, TB infects one third of the world's population. Each year 8 million new people develop active TB. Each one of those can, in turn, infect between 10 and 15 people in one year just by breathing.

This curable disease kills 2 million people yearly. Recently the Government announced it was strengthening TB screening for people from countries with a high rate of TB, and would extend screening to all those intending to stay in New Zealand for six months or more. At present only those intending to stay two years or more are screened.

From 1 April 2004 the six-month criterion will apply to foreign fee-paying students from relevant countries, and it will later this year extend to visitors and workers from relevant countries.

"Controlling TB control in the 21st century is a global challenge," Dr Lush said. "Internationally issues of poverty, adherence to treatment and stigma still prevail, while there is also increasing drug resistance and HIV co-infection."

Today is designated World TB day by the World Health Organization's (WHO), which continues to lead work to combat TB.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>


Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>