Researchers warn of new ‘concealed’ tuberculosis

Saturday May 4 2019

TB

App developer John Hongo (right) shows a client through the processes of TB Mobile screening at KEMRI stand at the Kisumu ASK show on August 5, 2014. Researchers now warn of new ‘concealed’ tuberculosis. PHOTO | JACOB OWITI | NMG 

HALIMA ABDALLAH
By HALIMA ABDALLAH
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New studies have revealed increased cases of concealed tuberculosis (TB), and now there is a call for mass screening using the latest technology.

Speaking at an International Lung Science Symposium held last week at the Lung Institute Makerere University, where results of the studies were released, lung experts said that the latent TB—show of no symptoms—were discovered after employing a new technology GeneXpert Ultra for screening.

The same persons were first tested using the commonly used chest X-Ray machines but no TB was seen.

Latent TB means that the general public is more exposed to the infectious disease as it could become manifest at any time.

The WHO recommends that inactive TB be treated as soon as it is discovered to stop bacterial progression to active stage.

Tuberculosis is a contagious disease which is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air.

The spread happens when a person with untreated tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, or laughs.

The studies were done by in Uganda and Western Kenya. The Kenyan study looked at improving TB diagnosis among HIV positive patients.

A different study done in Uganda by the Lung Institute looked at the performance and clinical diagnostic accuracy of GeneXpert Ultra technology.

WHO guidelines require that medics test for TB after a patient presents with symptoms like coughing, weight loss, night sweating or is HIV positive.

The population also takes precaution based on these symptoms.

Latest studies, however, show that the guidelines do not hold in the circumstances — persons without symptoms have been tested and found to have TB.