Fiji reports high incidence rate, low treatment success rate for TB

Fiji reported an incidence rate of tuberculosis of 27 people out of 100,000 population in 2011, according to the Ministry of Health's Fiji Journal of Public Health report.

The journal said that the country had a prevalence rate for TB of 40 people out of 100,000 population in 2011, demonstrating that the disease is a major threat to Fiji's population, the Fiji Times reports.

"In 2010, there were approximately 191 active TB cases and in 2011, about 213 cases recorded by the national program," Asenaca Mataika, the Ministry of Health's project officer for TB, said, according to the Fiji Times. "The populations most commonly affected by TB are those with low socio-economic status, poor housing, and unhealthy lifestyles, mainly in semi-urban and densely populated areas."

Mataika said that out of the 213 cases, 41 percent were reported in the Western division, 24 percent in the Eastern and Central divisions and 17 percent in the Northern division.

Treatment success rate for curing the disease was low, with only a 67 percent TSR for cases in 2010.

"Out of the 33 percent that were not successfully treated, six percent had died, 24 percent had defaulted and three percent were transferred out with their outcomes not recorded," Mataika said, according to the Fiji Times.

Additionally, Mataika said that people living with HIV infection and TB concurrently were at great risk for developing the active form of the disease.

She said that any person with signs or symptoms indicative of TB should be investigated for the disease, the Fiji Times reports.