MANILA, Philippines – Despite advances in medicine, the Philippines continues to be highly burdened in terms of incidence of tuberculosis (TB) compared to other countries in the world.
Worse, children accounted for more than half of identified tuberculosis cases, Dr Cleotilde Hidalgo How, board member of the Philippine Coalition Against TB (PhilCAT). Hidalgo How said that of 26,000 TB cases screened in 2010, more than half, or 14,527 were kids.
This a cause for concern, according to Hidalgo How, because, while childhood TB is not infectious, they “form a big reservoir for future adult TB cases when not diagnosed early and treated adequately.”
“Children, especially the very young, are most vulnerable not only to TB but to the most complicated forms like TB meningitis,” Hidalgo How said.
Prevention is key to addressing the problem, she says. But this should be done by making sure that adults who have contracted the disease are adequately treated.
“Prevention is by prevention from exposure, not by isolating the children from parents who are infected with TB. It is by treating the adults who are suspected to have TB. We also have to capture all infected children so that they can be treated,” according to Hidalgo How.
Hidalgo How said malnutrition, congested households, poor access to health facilities and ignorance are the “risk factors” for TB in the country.
She advised parents to get their children vaccinated with Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG), the current vaccine for TB, to minimize their risk of contracting the bacterial disease. – Rappler.com