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DH spares no effort in fight against tuberculosis (with photo)

     The Acting Director of Health, Dr Thomas Tsang, said today (March 24) that the Department of Health (DH) will strive to take preventive measures against tuberculosis (TB), which remains a public health challenge in Hong Kong despite a drastic decrease in the number of notifications in recent years.

     Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 2012 World TB Day, Dr Tsang urged members of the public to stay vigilant against TB by taking precautions and seeking timely medical attention if they develop symptoms.

     According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people who fell ill with and died from TB dropped to 8.8 million and 1.4 million respectively in 2010 globally.

     In Hong Kong, there were around 4,900 cases in 2011 at a rate of some 70 cases per 100,000 members of the population, a historical low compared with previous years. In 2010, there were about 5,100 cases at a rate of around 73 cases per 100,000 people.

     In the past half-century, there was more than a one-fold surge in the population but the TB incidence rate dropped sharply by more than 50 per cent. The incidence rate of multidrug-resistant TB also remained outside the high-risk zone. Dr Tsang remarked that this fruitful result should be attributed to the co-operation and efforts by the health-care sector, TB patients and the community.

     He reminded infected patients to seek early medical care, observe personal and environmental hygiene and strictly follow the Directly Observed Treatment method so as to complete the course of drug therapy by taking regular medication under the direct observation of health-care staff.

     Dr Tsang also pledged to perfect the current TB surveillance and control strategy and mechanism as well as continue its close co-operation and exchange with the WHO and other international and local TB prevention organisations in order to curb the spread of the disease.

     The theme of the 2012 World TB Day campaign launched with today's ceremony is "Join hands and fight TB". The ceremony was jointly organised by the Hong Kong Tuberculosis, Chest and Heart Diseases Association, the DH and the Hospital Authority. A two-day exhibition and educational activities will be held to disseminate the anti-TB message.

     The Chairman of the Hong Kong Tuberculosis, Chest and Heart Diseases Association, Mr Steve Lan, and the Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority, Dr Leung Pak-yin, were among the officiating guests.

     The public can call the DH's TB hotline at 2572 6024 for more TB-related information, or visit the website jointly developed by the Department of Health and the Hospital Authority ( or the WHO website (

Ends/Saturday, March 24, 2012
Issued at HKT 13:31


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