Residents enouraged to get tested for TB

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the infectious diseases affecting many South Africans. According to the National Department of Health, one person in South Africa falls ill with TB every seven minutes.

The month of March is regarded as TB awareness month and this year, the focus is on creating awareness of Targeted Universal Testing for TB (TUTT)

The theme for this year is ‘Yes, we can beat TB’ and culminates in World TB Day on Sunday, 24 March 2024.

COURTESY: Spotlight

Mayco Member for Community Services and Health, Patricia van der Ross says during March, the City of Cape Town’s Health Department will focus on creating awareness around targeted testing.

‘’TB has been the leading cause of death in the province for more than a decade and the country has one of the highest TB burdens in the world. While the disease is highly infectious, we also have the means to stop it in its tracks.’’

‘’Previously we tested people who presented with TB symptoms and those in vulnerable groups. With targeted testing, as recommended by the NDoH, we now test those people who have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with TB as well, regardless of their symptoms,’’ she added.

Van der Ross encouraged citizens to get tested for TB

‘’We become predisposed to diseases like TB when our immune system is weakened because of stress, not eating well, a lack of exercise, excessive smoking, alcohol or drug use. Untreated TB is a fatal disease. The good news is that TB can be treated and cured. The better news is that we can take precautions to avoid getting TB,’’ said Patricia van der Ross, Mayco Member for Community Services and Health.

To reduce the spread of the TB bacteria, keep the windows open, let sunlight into your home and practice good hygiene by covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

You have the highest risk of breathing in TB bacteria and becoming infected when in close contact with family members, friends, co-workers or school friends who has the disease if you share the same enclosed space or living arrangement for one or more nights; or share the same space at work, school, college or public transport for frequent or extended periods during the day.

Get a TB test if you:

1. Have been in close contact with someone who has TB of the lungs during the three months before he or she began TB treatment

2. Received TB treatment in the last two years

3. Has recently been diagnosed with HIV

4. Is HIV positive and taking Antiretroviral Therapy

5. Is pregnant and HIV positive

‘’You can get a TB test even if you do not have any symptoms. TB testing is free at all City of Cape Town clinics,’’ advised van der Ross.


Done By: Mitchum George


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