Displaced people are at high risk of contracting TB. Displaced people are at high risk of contracting TB.

‘Tuberculosis out of control:’ cases have soared 140% this year

Academic warns urgent action necessary to stop it from spreading

Tuberculosis (TB) cases have more than doubled this year, triggering an urgent call from an academic for the government to carry out an information campaign to stop the disease spreading.

Data from the federal Secretariat of Health shows there were 40,244 reported cases of TB to the week ending November 23, a 140% increase compared to the 16,700 cases reported in all of 2018.

With 5,172 cases, Guerrero has been the worst affected state followed by Hidalgo, Veracruz, México state and Sinaloa.

Mario Luis Fuentes, a National Autonomous University professor and author of a paper entitled Warning: Tuberculosis is out of Control, said the national increase goes beyond “all expectations” and has put researchers on alert.

He said the forced displacement of people (a problem that is particularly prevalent in Guerrero) and a weakening of prevention strategies were among the factors that may have contributed to this year’s abnormally high outbreak.

“The statistical data speaks of an interruption in the positive trend that we were seeing and which today is broken,” Fuentes said.

TB is “a disease of poverty,” the academic said. “Behind it there is overcrowding [in homes], malnutrition and a life of marginalization. The figure we have [this year] hasn’t been seen for at least two decades . . .”

Fuentes said the government should urgently provide information to the public in order to combat and stop the expansion of the disease, which is spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or spits.

“It has to be dealt with urgently. More than 2,200 people died last year, a figure that, for me, is excessive . . . They are deaths that shouldn’t happen . . .”

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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