An expert in Tuberculosis and Leprosy Health, Dr Alexander Akpodiete, has said in every six members of a Nigerian household, two are infected with the tuberculosis bacterium.
Dr. Akpodiete, who is the Programme Manager of the Delta State TB, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, disclosed this on Wednesday in Asaba during a training program organized for journalists and zoomed from Abuja by the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, in collaboration with Breakthrough Action and all State TBL Control Programmes.
He said such infected persons never coughed because of their strong immune system and would not infect others, pointing out that the disease could only manifest in them at old age or at a time their immune system would become weak.
The medical expert said a Tuberculosis patient could share cup, spoon, and other personal effects with others and could only spread the bacterium through infected droplets in a non – ventilated apartment or congested place like a market, church or school, as Tuberculosis was an air borne disease.
Dr. Akpodiete maintained that a completely treated patient posed no danger to the society, while a not properly treated patient could infect 15 others in his or her neighborhood.
He decried the failure by sufferers to present themselves to be investigated and treated for free in all hospitals across the state, revealing that out of an estimated 13,000 Tuberculosis cases in a year, only 2,800 were being treated.
The Programme Manager blamed the situation on stigmatization of the patients by members of the public and healthcare providers.
Participants in the training programme are expected to help disseminate the right information on TB and partner with the State TBL Control Programme in sensitization and awareness creation and to be involved in the Control Programme’s effort at finding and treating TB cases.