KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia has seen a spike in the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases over the past year, Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa said on Friday.
The number of cases reported in 2022 was 25,391 compared with 21,727 reported a year earlier, an increase of 3,664, or 17 percent, while the number of deaths has risen by 12 percent from 2,288 to 2,572 for the same period, she said in a statement to commemorate the 2023 World Tuberculosis Day.
Zaliha said the ministry is working to raise public awareness of the disease with the theme "Yes! We Can End TB!" as the country seeks to eradicate the disease by 2035, adding that treatment schedules must be followed and community support is important for recovery.
"All patients always adhere to the schedule prescribed for treatment. Support from family members, employers, colleagues and the community plays an important role in ensuring that the patient does not stop treatment," she said.
She also urged members of the public showing symptoms such as coughing for over two weeks, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, and coughing up blood to seek early treatment as it will improve their chances of recovery.
According to the World Health Organization, TB is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis and most often affects the lungs. TB spreads through the air when people with the disease cough, sneeze or spit. In spite of being a curable disease, many people die from TB. ■