Qinghai monks preaching the dangers of TB

Updated: 2013-07-20 01:36

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

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Drug resistance

For common pulmonary TB, patients stop being contagious after two weeks of treatment.

However, the illness is sometimes resistant to treatment.

Multi-drug resistant TB is caused largely by inconsistent or partial treatment.

According to Choschok, two such cases were reported in 2012, and the patients were taken into direct care by the provincial Center for Disease Control.

In Qinghai province, only the provincial-level Center for Disease Control is capable of testing for multi-drug resistant TB, according to Zhu Zenghong, director of the local branch of the center.

Treatment for multi-drug resistant TB usually lasts two years and costs at least 50,000 yuan ($8,100) for the medication alone.

"But only half of patients have been cured," Zhu added.

Heavily burdened by rising multi-drug resistant TB, China now has nearly 120,000 new cases on the mainland each year, according to public health experts.

That accounts for 25 percent of the world’s total each year.

"Multi-drug resistant TB needs more complicated diagnosis methods and longer and more expensive treatment — a huge economic and human resource loss," said Chen Mingting, deputy director of the National Center for Tuberculosis of the China Center for Disease Control.

With no effective intervention, the number of multi-drug resistant TB patients on the mainland is expected to reach 710,000 by the year 2020, costing more than 99 billion yuan in medical treatment, he said.

"That might upset social stability and harm the economic development of the nation," he warned.

In Qinghai, considering the living conditions of local herdsman, relatively poor health awareness, and limited medical resources of grassroots facilities, many TB sufferers might not be diagnosed in time or receive proper treatment, Zhu said.

"That might lead to a rising epidemic of multi-drug resistant TB, which costs both resources and a lot of money," he warned.


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