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Advancements in Early Diagnosis of TB in the UAE Means Results Available in 2-3 Weeks

Early diagnosis of TB to be discussed at Respiratory, Critical Care and Sleep Disease conference at Arab Health 2014

According to World Health Organization, the incidence of tuberculosis in United Arab Emirates (per 100,000 people) is 1.7 . Previous Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) statistics show that newcomers to the country have around a 20 times higher rates of TB than the resident and national populations. According to Dubai Health Authority, supported by HAAD's findings, there has been a sharp increase over past four years in the prevalence of TB among those applying for work and residency visas.

Dr Mayank Vats, Sr. Specialist, Pulmonologist, Intensivist & Sleep Physician, Rashid Hospital, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE, will highlight the 'Recent advances in diagnosis and management of TB' at the Respiratory, Critical Care and Sleep Disease conference at taking place at the Arab Health Exhibition & Congress from 29-30 January 2014 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

"Within the last few years, there has been great advancement in the early diagnosis of TB, including a change in the staining & culture media (liquid and broth culture) and radiometric culture. This can give a very rapid diagnosis for TB, in as little as two to three weeks as compared to taking three months previously. This allows for the treatment to be initiated as early as possible," says Dr Vats.

In many parts of the Middle East, expatriate workers from countries with a high prevalence
of tuberculosis contribute to the occurrence of new cases. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the incidence of tuberculosis among expatriates is double that for Saudi nationals. In Oman, the predominant strains of M tuberculosis are similar to those commonly found in the Indian subcontinent.

According to Dr Vat, "As deportation on the basis of being a TB carrier carries a lot of social stigma, I believe that instead we should open more isolation wards in order to keep patients isolated and to treat them effectively. And once the patient is totally non-infectious, they can resume their work. If the patient is deported and then does not follow up with the doctor in their home country, they will become a potential source of infection for the community in their country. We should fight TB with a unified approach to implementing all the standard WHO policies and protocols."

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Tags: Arab Health 2014, diagnosis, tuberculosis

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