New drug-resistant strain of TB found in Maldives “quite serious”: HPA

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has warned that a new drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis (TB) that has appeared in the Maldives poses “quite a serious threat” to people’s health.

The agency’s comments follow a report released by the Ministry of Health on Sunday (March 24), revealing that it faces new challenges in order to control the disease in the Maldives.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), TB is an infectious bacterial disease that can be transmitted via droplets in the throat and lungs of the infected.

WHO states that drug-resistant strains of TB have become a major public health problem that has resulted from patients not fully completing the recommended six-month course of treatment.

HPA Public Health Program Officer Shina Ahmed told Minivan News today (March 25) that although the new strain of TB is “quite serious”, the particular strain found in the Maldives is not resistant to every drug available to patients.

“We have had a few cases come in now with the new strain. The most important thing we have to do is to continue and complete the course of treatment.

“Most of these drug-resistant strains are caused by patients stopping the treatment. We have enough drug supplies to give to them, but because the course goes on for six months, patients tend to go off taking the treatment towards the end,” Shina said.

Local media reported that the Health Ministry had revealed that 10,563 people had been registered to receive treatment for TB since 1963, out of which 5,256 people were said to have infected lungs.

Shina claimed that the majority of cases within the Maldives have been reported on the islands as opposed to Male’, and that in order to prevent the spread of the disease the HPA will be undertaking awareness programs.

An official from Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male’ stated that there was no need for the public to be concerned in regard to the spread of the disease, adding that there may have been only “one or two” cases found to have contracted the new strain.

“When we find a patient who is not responding to the prescribed course of treatment, there is always a second course they can take instead,” the official told Minivan News.

According to WHO, healthy individuals infected with TB are not often affected by any symptoms as the person’s immune system acts to “wall off” the bacteria.

The organisation states that symptoms of active TB are coughing, sometimes with blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.

The WHO Representative to the Maldives, Dr Akjemal Magtymova, Health Minister Dr Ahmed Jamsheed Mohamed and the Health Ministry were not responding to calls at time of press.


3 thoughts on “New drug-resistant strain of TB found in Maldives “quite serious”: HPA”

  1. sheena : HPA should implement DOT (direct observed therapy) for patients who physicians deem might be non-compliant with therapy

    who ever the official from IGMH is, that is a VERY IRRESPONSIBLE thing to say to the media. undermining the seriousness of this major public health issue.

  2. In Shri Lanka people are not allowed to smoke spit or litter on the roads. If found doing so they are fined. Maldives recently imposed smoking ban in certain areas and most people are following the rule. Why don’t we stop people spitting and littering our roads. This is a small country and we have so many people in different names to implement the rules but only rules on public gatherings are strictly imposed. A few years back no one was allowed to have tinted glass in cars. With so much rape and abuse going on we see cars of higher ranks in government breaking the rules followed by taxis. We have so many foreign laborers living in unhealthy conditions spitting and washing their face on the pavements. Results are dangerous and today TB has targeted our children. We must all realize this is a tiny Island with a large population and give 100 percent attention to the cleanliness of the place. The roads are filthy and people use the roads as their dustbin. City Council has to pick up and clean the roads but can they manage without the help of the people? The Red Light has been switched on its time we woke up to the real world. Stop fighting and save this country.

  3. in sri lanka there are not what allowed??? have u been there??? they do whatever they want there...just fyi!maybe not in front of a police man thou

    i agree on the point that people have to wake up thou re the littering and that as you say the streets are not their dustbin-but they are far away from that! just walk over to the surf point and check out whats between the stone or on the beach is-maybe they shd create a beach out of plastic bottles...


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