Russian Doctors Troubled by Growing TB Infection Rate

VLADIVOSTOK, January 24 (RIA Novosti) – Doctors are concerned about the rising number of Russians infected with tuberculosis (TB). This number has more than doubled over the past 15 years, a senior healthcare official said on Thursday.

“Russia ranks 13th on the list of countries with the highest tuberculosis infection rate. There are over 240,000 patients with active forms of TB, four percent of them are children,” Valentina Aksyonova, Russia’s top TB doctor with the Health Ministry, told reporters in Vladivostok. “Tuberculosis is to blame for 12.2 percent of deaths from infections in Russia,” she added.

TB infection rates in Vladivostok, the largest city in the Primorye Region, are 2 ½ times higher than Russia’s average, with 3,000 new cases registered every year, Aksyonova noted.

The reason for the growth in infection rates is that many Russians neglect their health and skip annual medical exams, while parents’ refusal to vaccinate children for fear of side effects has caused the number of children falling ill with TB to double over the past 10 years, the official said. “Parents don’t realize that by refusing vaccination, they expose their children to dangerous forms of TB,” she added.

In many cases parents are afraid of possible allergic reactions to the vaccine, but the doctor said newly developed types of injections should help diminish allergy reactions. A pilot diagnostic program for children with TB will be implemented in Primorye this year.



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