MANILA — The Philippines recorded around 470,000 cases of tuberculosis in 2022, the Department of Health said Friday.
Dr. Ronald Allan Fabella, TB advisor of the DOH's disease prevention and control bureau, noted that COVID-19 had affected the government's TB detection and treatment program.
"Nakapagtala tayo ng around 470,000 na nagsimula ng gamutan," he said in a virtual town hall forum.
"Pero sa estimate ng WHO (World Health Organization), kulang pa 'yun dun sa talagang dapat nating nakikita. Tinatantiya nila merong 700,000 Filipinos 'yung may TB every year," he added.
For TB, a drop in the number of cases does not indicate success.
"Sa TB control kasi, ang importante matigil ang transmission. Para matigil ang transmission, kailangan ma-detect sila at magamot sila," Fabella said.
"The more nade-detect natin at naggamot, the more mabilis ang pagkawala ng sakit na ito," he added.
Citing a report from the WHO, the Philippines logged 741,000 TB cases, with 60,000 deaths in 2021, Fabella said.
TB is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs and is spread from person to person through the air, he said.
Common symptoms of active lung TB are cough with sputum and blood at times, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.
But Fabella stressed TB is a treatable and curable disease.
Drug-susceptible TB disease is treated with a standard 4-month or 6-month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs that are provided with support to the patient by a health worker or trained treatment supporter.
The World TB Day is observed annually on March 24.
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