x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Tuberculosis increases sharply among migrants

In 2009, the Dubai Health Authority reported 159 cases of TB among those applying for visas. By 2010, the number had leapt to 722.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of would-be migrants found to be suffering from tuberculosis, health authorities say.

Studies conducted by Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) suggested the increase was consistent with findings by the World Health Organization of an increase in the number of drug-resistant TB cases in Asia, as well as drug resistance in new strains of the disease.

Statistics released by the Dubai Health Authority this year supported HAAD's findings. It found a sharp increase over the past four years in the prevalence of TB among those applying for work and residency visas.

The number of cases detected in Dubai in 2008 was 122, rising to 159 in 2009 and then leaping to 722 in 2010.

In the first three months of this year, the number of those screened who had tuberculosis was at a high of 606 cases.

"We believe reducing the number of people coming into the country with those diseases will help in the control of communicable diseases," said Dr Farida Ismail Al Hosani, the manager of the communicable diseases department at HAAD.

"The first priority is TB because it is an airborne disease, so we aim to reduce the number of cases and exposure of the community to such cases."

Dr Al Hosani said HAAD was working closely with the Ministry of Health, the Dubai Health Authority and other concerned parties on the issue.

balqabbani@thenational.ae