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TB case detected in Corozal

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Two weeks ago, the CEO in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, told the media that health officials have been detecting more cases of tuberculosis. He attributed the increase of detections to the new gene expert machine which the Ministry has distributed to the regional hospitals. But a recent case of the infectious disease was detected at Corozal Community Hospital. The detection was made about a month ago and according to the Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, measures were taken to quickly prevent the spread.

 MARVIN MANZANERO, DIRECTOR OF HEALTH SERVICES

“That case was treated at Corozal Community Hospital and measures were set in place from the beginning when that diagnosis was made. It’s a seventeen year old female patient and once we detected the case Public Health nurses and the Corozal Community Hospital staff went out on the ground trying to track down any potential cases. We did contact tracing with both school and family members of the patient and they were also screened with PPD skin test to find out if any of them were reactive. She had been ill and she had been seeking treatment at Corozal community hospital so she was treated initially when she didn’t respond further screening tests were bring done that’s when the diagnosis of tuberculosis was made. The PPD skin testing is what is routinely done in the community so that those are the tests that were done initially once we had diagnosed this particular case.”

According to Dr. Manzanero, the number of cases in Belize has decreased over the last couple of years.

MARVIN MANZANERO, DIRECTOR OF HEALTH SERVICES

“We are having on average about one hundred cases every year. Routinely you don’t think about tuberculosis as the first diagnosis; who is having cough and fever or perhaps a more prevalent symptom, cough that doesn’t go away, fever, weight lost. Tuberculosis is going to be more common in certain sectors of society for example people who are diabetic, people who perhaps consume alcohol or on steroids or on long use of antibiotics, people who have cancer, people who have HIV. Anybody that has their defenses down they are most likely to develop TB. Because you may come in contact with the bacteria doesn’t mean that you will develop Tuberculosis so it’s not that easy to become infected with tuberculosis and most of the time you are not going to find outbreaks of tuberculosis. I think the last outbreak of tuberculosis we had was at the prison and that is understood because of the condition that goes years aback but it’s not that easy to get tuberculosis. A person have to really be coughing literally in your face consistently and you being in close constant consistent contact for you to develop tuberculosis so it’s not that easy to get tuberculosis.”

Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs.

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