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Respirology. 2001 Mar;6(1):65-70.

Tuberculosis in Thailand.

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Pulmonary Unit, Department of Medicine, Phramongkutklao Hospital and College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand.


Tuberculosis (TB) was expected to be eradicated by the end of this century. However, an increasing incidence of tuberculosis in many parts of the world has led to renewed interest in the disease. The pandemic of HIV infection has changed TB, an endemic disease, to an epidemic worldwide. In Thailand, tuberculosis cases and deaths reduced year after year, until 1992 when the cases began to increase as a result of HIV infection. The annual risk of infection in 1997 was estimated at 1.4%, with approximately 100 000 new TB cases developing each year. Fifteen per cent of tuberculosis patients are seropositive for HIV infection. Increasing antituberculosis drug resistance has been correlated with the high prevalence of HIV infection in some parts of the country. In 1995, cure rate of this disease was approximately 50% and, since 1996, in order to cope with the worsening situation, the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) has adopted Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS). Despite the current economic turmoil of the country, the programme has now been expanded to cover over 400 of the 810 districts of Thailand. Also, the economic effects of tuberculosis at the household level in Thailand were recently studied. Tuberculosis is a chronic disease that commonly affects the lower socioeconomic classes. Some patients were unable to follow the treatment regimens because of the financial burden. The low case detection and treatment completion rates are, in part, due to the inability of poor patients to cope with the expenditure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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