With about 100,000 new cases of tuberculosis (TB) reported every year, Vietnam ranks 12 out of the 22 highest TB-burden countries identified by the World Health Organization, said Dr Tang Chi Thuong, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Health Department.
Dr Thuonng released the figures at the conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday to sum up the Public Private Mix (PPM) Project for TB and HIV Control in Vietnam.
TB is the second cause of death in people with infectious diseases in Vietnam, where more than 100,000 new TB patients and 17,000 deaths of TB recorded every year, Dr Thuong said.
Of these new TB cases, HCMC accounts for 13-15 percent.
The project has been funded by the USAID and given technical support by PATH, a US non-government organization and an international nonprofit organization that transforms global health through innovation.
Since 2007, PATH has been working with a range of national and international partners to improve detection and treatment of TB. In Vietnam , PATH focuses on harnessing the power of the public and private sectors to identify and treat people with TB, and informing and empowering policymakers, communities, and people affected by TB.
TB, an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is a leading cause of illness worldwide and is the number one cause of death in people with HIV/AIDS, PATH warned.
According to Ms. Rena Bitter, US Consul General in HCMC, 21 provinces and cities have taken part in activities within the PPM Project. In these provinces, the project has helped double the rate of TB detection from 5.3 percent in 2009 to 10.5 percent in 2011.
At a press briefing held in March in Hanoi to mark the National Anti-TB Action Month and World Tuberculosis Day (March 24), Dinh Ngoc Sy, director of the National Lung Hospita, said that up to 40 percent of the population could contract the TB virus.
Dr Sy, also the chairman of the National Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Program, said Vietnam also ranks 14th among the 27 countries having the highest number of multi-drug resistant TB patients.
TB most commonly affects the lungs and the disease is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease, 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.
The symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.