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Tuberculosis Prevalence on The Rise

Tuberculosis (TB) prevalence in the Kingdom is on the rise, with 280 Jordanians testing positive for the disease in the first nine months of the year, compared to 220 in the same period of 2008, according to the Health Ministry.

Khalid Abu Rumman, director of the ministry’s respiratory disease department, attributed the rise in the number of cases to medical check-up campaigns in the governorates, noting that the increase has spurred authorities to intensify efforts to combat the disease.

“Our focus in the past was Amman and the surrounding cities. But as of the beginning of the year, we started sending out a mobile unit with medics and an X-ray to conduct the required tests,” Abu Rumman told The Jordan Times yesterday.

He noted that a high number of domestic workers diagnosed with TB this year was also a factor in increasing the prevalence of the disease among Jordanians.

“Some families used to contract the infection before discovering that their domestic worker had the disease,” the official explained.

According to the ministry’s figures, the highest incidence of the disease is in Amman, where 90 cases were registered in first three quarters of the year, followed by Irbid with 40 and Zarqa with 34. Aqaba had the lowest rate, with only one TB case registered since the beginning of the year.

Abu Rumman said the ministry is providing free-of-charge diagnosis and medication to reduce the prevalence of the disease.

“Although the diagnosis of each person costs JD100, we conduct it for free and provide treatment,” Abu Rumman said, noting that TB treatment costs the ministry JD100 per month for each patient.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs, according to the World Health Organization.

In healthy people, infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person’s immune system acts to “wall off” the bacteria.

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