About 90% of people in Taiwan who have been in close contact with someone living with tuberculosis do not complete successfully a TB test, Huang Shao-tsung, director of the infectious diseases division at the Department of Health's Chest Hospital, said Wednesday, the Central News Agency reports.
Regulations revised in June require anyone who has been in contact with a person with infectious TB for eight hours in a single day to undergo testing, Huang said.
Between August 2005 and July 2006, 1,069 people received a chest X-ray because they had been in contact with someone with TB, but 969 people did not return for a follow-up appointment, according to Huang. Only 89 had a second chest X-ray within one year after the first test, and only 11 of those had a third X-ray, the Central News Agency reports.
About 15,000 new TB cases are recorded annually in Taiwan, according to Central News Agency. In 2004, there were 24,161 people living with TB, including 16,784 new cases, and the country had a TB incidence of 74 cases per 100,000 people. There were 957 TB-related deaths in 2004, making it the 12th leading cause of death in Taiwan (Nai-kuo, Central News Agency, 9/5).
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation