The increasing number of tuberculosis cases detected annually in Thailand is an ongoing challenge for the government, the Nation reports. According to Somchai Pinyopornpaitch, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, TB cases have increased for several years despite health officials’ efforts.
TB incidence in Thailand is currently 50 per 100,000 people, with 90,000 new cases annually, and the treatment success rate is well below the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 85%, according to the Nation. Thailand is one of the 22 countries with the world’s highest TB burden, with 12,000 TB deaths reported annually, Somchai said. He expressed concern that Thailand was ranked alongside developing countries such as Cambodia, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe that have lower hygiene standards.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic, increased rates of migration because of economic growth and an influx of migrant workers are factors fueling the spread of TB, according to the Nation. Daranee Viryakijja, a TB expert, said 15% of new TB cases occurred among HIV-positive people. Somchai also said many people with TB do not complete treatment because they move to other regions to find work. Combating TB requires active screening for new cases and widening the treatment network to monitor patients to ensure that they complete treatment, the Nation reports