Bacterium that causes tuberculosis (CDC photo)
Dr. Rafael Laniado Laborín, head of the multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis clinic at Hospital General de Tijuana, recently told El Mexicano that the clinic diagnoses an average of 1000 TB cases a year, leading Mexico in the number of tuberculosis cases reported annually.
"A thousand cases a year, that's a lot of cases," Laniado told the newspaper. He attributed the large number to high levels of migration into Tijuana and to a better system at the hospital of detecting the illness.
TB, said the doctor, is associated with poverty, which explains why most pharmaceutical companies have little interest in developing new drugs to treat the illness.
Nonetheless, Laniado told the newspaper, there is a single drug that is effective in curing TB as long as patients are diagnosed early and given adequate treatment early on.
“If you have a cough, phlegm, weight loss, trouble breathing, and a fever, you need to see your doctor so he can examine you and eliminate tuberculosis as the cause," El Mexicano quoted him as saying.
The disease is normally spread by airborne particles expelled when someone with tuberculosis coughs and someone else breathes in the microbes, he said. As means to prevent infection, Laniado recommended avoiding crowded spaces, practicing good hygiene, eating a well-balanced diet, and seeing a doctor at the first signs of the illness.
According to health officials, 234 cases of tuberculosis were reported in San Diego County in 2012, and, as of November 1, 130 cases have been reported in 2013.