Specialist underscores need to complete treatment for TB
In line with the observance of the World Tuberculosis Day on March 25, the TB Direct Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS) of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center reminds patients with tuberculosis to undergo and finish their treatment process to avoid severe condition that may infect others and lead to death.
TB is a bacterial disease mainly found in the lungs but, which may also affect other body parts. It is diagnosed through a sputum test and chest X-ray.
Dr. Aleli Pamplona, BGHMC Department of Internal Medicine medical officer and TB-DOTS head, said a person infected with TB may have some or all of the following symptoms: cough for more than three weeks, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, and feeling of weakness or extreme exhaustion.
One who is diagnosed with TB may still be feeling well.
TB is treated through DOTS, which involves six to eight months of focused treatment as recommended by the World Health Organization.
TB patients undergoing DOTS do not have to be admitted in the hospital, but it is important for them to have a treatment partner who will guide them and assure they take their medicines to ensure faster recovery.
Pamplona said it is important for TB patients to receive proper information about the need to follow the focused treatment.
“Remember TB will not be cured at will recur if medicines are not taken every day or as prescribed. If treatment is not completed, it may result to infection of others and the patient’s condition will get worse and will require more expensive medicines. If the disease is not treated, it may lead to death,” Pamplona said.
She added if a patient stops taking medicines before the period of DOTs because they already feel well and cured, the TB bacteria will become resistant of the medicines.
Two consecutive negative results of sputum examination is a sign the TB patient is being healed.
The Cordillera in 2021 recorded 2,367 cases of pulmonary TB and 114 cases of extrapulmonary TB, both higher than 2020 which had 2,284 cases and 108 cases, respectively.
Pamplona said there are 71 active cases currently under TB DOTS at BGHMC.
Worldwide, 9.9 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died of the disease in 2020 according to the WHO, but 66 million lives were saved since 2000 by global efforts to end TB.
This year’s World Tuberculosis Day theme is “Invest to end TB, save lives.”– Hanna C. Lacsamana