Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Health department has bemoaned the poor management of “ordinary” TB cases which has led to cases of drug resistance Tuberculosis (DR-TB) soaring in the city.
In a meeting discussing the rising of DR-TB cases in the city last week, BCC Acting deputy nursing officer, Glodie Khuphe said DR-TB is caused by the development of TB bacteria that have become resistant to “ordinary” TB drugs.
“This occurs due to inadequate or irregular management of ordinary TB, either by using inappropriate drugs or by using single drugs for ordinary TB. Another thing is when a person with DR-TB infects the other person with the bacteria causing DR-TB. There are various types of DR-TB and these include poly-resistance, multidrug-resistant, rifampicin resistance, and extensive drug resistance TB.
Khuphe said the signs and symptoms of DR-TB are a cough that takes longer than two weeks and it can either be dry, yellow, green or in some cases bloodstained.
“People that might be having it experience weight loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, night sweats and lack of appetite.”
Khuphe said once it is suspected sputum is sent to the laboratory and a special laboratory test (Gene Xpert test) will reveal the TB and its sensitivity to one of the important drugs (Rifampicin) and other specialized tests such as (Drug susceptibility testing) will reveal sensitivity to other drugs used in treating TB.
“Patients with DR-TB will have to take at least five different drugs for nine months or longer for seven days a week. Treatment is much longer than the “ordinary” TB (6-8 months).”
He said people could prevent contracting this type of TB by having early diagnosis and treatment. “They should practice good cough hygiene and that is to “cover their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing).
“Good ventilation of houses is strongly recommended. Keep windows and doors open. They should also limit prolonged contact with people with TB and infectious persons should wear masks,” Khuphe said.
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