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Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty Marks World Tuberclosis Day

Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty Marks World Tuberclosis Day

World Tuberclosis Day, falling on March 24th each year, is designed to build public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries. It commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis. Within the framework of this important day, Eastern Mediterranean University Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty would like to raise awareness regarding tuberclosis problem from a local and international perspective.

Tuberculosis  is a disease caused by a type of bacteria that mainly infects the lungs, although it can also affect other organs. Signs and symptoms of active tuberclosis are coughing, fever, night sweats, fatigue and weight loss. Tuberculosis of the lung is usually associated with a dry cough that eventually leads to a productive cough with blood-stained sputum.

According to WHO, about one-third of the world's population has been infected by Tuberclosis bacteria and around 1 to 1.5 million people lose their lives due to the said disease. About 480 000 people developed Multi Drug Resistant Tuberclosis in the world. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Tuberclosis can be treated with accurate diagnosis and correct treatment methods, it still remains as one of the deadly diseases in developing countries. 

The period for the appearance of the symptoms following the infection of the body with tuberclosis bacteria varies from person to person. Small children and those who have immune system problems are the most vulnerable group. The disease may emerge soon after the body has become infected or after long years. Tuberclosis is a serious threat for HIV infected people. People with diabetics, chronic kidney diseases, some cancer types, silicosis, alcohol and drug addiction, who have been using cortison and similar types of medication, and smokers have higher risk of catching the disease.

Following the start of the tuberclosis treatment, symptoms may disappear. However, it is really crucial for the patient to continue the treatment for a minimum period of six months so that the disease does not return back.

The main causes of the increasing cases of tuberclosis at a global level is the insufficiency of health services in developing countries and globalisation. In Northern Cyprus, the incidence of tuberclosis cases has increased, especially in individuals who came from abroad. According to the statistics of Ministry of Health, during the first 6 months of 2015, a total of 16 new cases have been detected. Considering the figures within the last 7 years, the Ministry states that a total of 32 tuberclosis cases were diagnosed. Between 2012 and 2015, a total of 140 new tuberclosis cases were diagnosed. It is worth mentioning that 40% of the cases were not Cypriot nationals.

In line with these facts and figures, similar to the rest of the world, public awareness should be raised regarding this disease and relevant measures should be taken. As part of the recommended measures, individuals who arrive in the island to stay for a long period of time should be examined for this disease and relevant precautions should be taken, accordingly.

Another measure for the protection of the society from this disease is the development of inoculation strategies for newborns and infants. The resistance problem regarding this bacteria should also be looked into and relevant centers and infrastructure carrying out research on this aspect of the disease should be established.