Four tuberculosis cases reported in region

Four Taranaki residents were diagnosed with tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, last year.

Yesterday, the Taranaki District Health Board confirmed it had been notified of four cases and one relapse across the region, but could not go into specifics because of patient confidentially.

The Taranaki Daily News understands a small business in Hawera recently tested its workers after a staff member was diagnosed with the lung infection.

Medical officer of health Greg Simmons said the risk of developing the disease following contact with an infected person was low.

"Only 5 to 10 per cent of those people found to be infected with the TB germ go on to develop active TB disease," he said.

In the past five years there had been only 10 cases reported in Taranaki.

Patients with the disease were often put on medication for about six months. Some people required hospitalisation.

Tuberculosis seldom began with striking signs or symptoms, Mr Simmons said.

It might progress for weeks or even months and there might be a steady loss of weight, an irritating hoarseness, poor appetite, indigestion, and a feeling of tiredness which might persist for no good reason.

Tuberculosis was often closely linked to poverty.

However, humans could become infected by bovine tuberculosis through the consumption of tainted milk or by handling infected animals or carcasses.

SYMPTOMS A bad cough that lasts longer than a couple of weeks and may be accompanied by phlegm with blood in it.

Accompanying symptoms include feeling weak and tired, a loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, night sweats, and chest pain.


Taranaki Daily News