PETALING JAYA: The number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in Malaysia has risen by 17% and the number of deaths has gone up by 12%, the health minister said today.
Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the number of cases reported in 2022 was 25,391 compared with 21,727 reported a year earlier, an increase of 3,664.
She said the World Health Organization (WHO) had estimated that the incidence rate for the illness in Malaysia was 97 out of every 100,000 individuals.
“However, the actual incidence rate reported was lower than WHO’s estimate,” she said, adding that early detection through screening was important.
As for the total number of deaths due to TB, Malaysia recorded 2,572 cases in 2022 compared with 2,288 deaths in 2021.
To reduce the risk of deaths, Zaliha said, those with symptoms of TB such as coughing for over two weeks, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, and coughing up blood should seek early treatment.
She reminded the public that it was an offence under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) to stop or refuse treatment for TB.
She called for an end to misinformation as well as stigma on the disease.
March 24 marks World TB Day, with the theme this year being “Yes! We can end TB!”