(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – Saint Lucia joins the rest of the international community to celebrate World Tuberculosis Day observed annually on March 24th.
Tuberculosis commonly known as TB has neither been forgotten nor pushed under the table by the Ministry of Health. Focus continues to be place on eradicating the disease and preventing new cases through education and treatment. This communicable disease can be spread from one infected person to another when that individual coughs, speaks or sings. Senior Medical Officer for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Michelle Francois described some of the signs and symptoms of TB.
“Persons with TB normally has a cough which last for over three weeks, they may cough up blood, they may have chest pain. Other signs of TB include night sweats, very poor appetite or they eat a lot less. They don’t have the desire to eat as well as loss of weight”.
Dr. Francois noted that TB is not a disease of the rich or the poor, however some groups may be more vulnerable than others.
“Anyone can get TB if they are exposed. However, there are specific groups who are predisposed or who are more likely to contract it because of their immune system, it’s not as strong as the rest. So persons very young, children, very old individuals, persons living with HIV, persons with cancer, those with renal disease or with diabetes whatever condition that weakens your system makes you more likely to contract TB”.
There is however a cure for this malady and so deaths are unusually attributed to TB. Treatment is available on island and it is free. The Ministry continues to implement strategies to build awareness of TB’s existence and measures that can be taken to combat it.