PUTRAJAYA, March 24 — The number of tuberculosis or TB cases reported in Malaysia in 2021 stands at 21,727, down by 8.1 per cent from 23,644 cases reported in the previous year, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
The number of TB deaths in 2021 was 2,288, a 1.4 per cent drop or down by 32, compared to 2020, he said in a statement in conjunction with World TB Day 2022 today.
TB is an infectious air-borne disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis and its signs and symptoms include prolonged cough of more than two weeks, fever, night sweats, poor appetite, weight loss and haemoptysis.
Khairy said TB patients could be cured if they adhered to the prescribed treatment schedule and were at risk of re-infection and TB drug resistant or develop resistance to anti-TB antibiotics if they do not follow the prescribed treatment.
The treatment for TB is a combination of four types of antibiotics namely Ethambutol, Isoniazid, Rifampicin and Pyrazinamide (EHRZ) at the intensive phase for two months, followed by two types of antibiotics namely Isoniazid and Rifampicin (HR) in the next four months.
“Strict adherence to treatment is very important to ensure that TB patients recover fully,” said Khairy, who also called for an end to misconceptions about TB and stigma against TB patients.
Khairy said all parties must be give their commitment in order for Malaysia to be TB-free by 2035.