Fear of TB in city

There has been an alarming rise in the number of people diagnosed with tuberculosis in Tel Aviv this year, reports Yediot Tel Aviv.

By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY
December 2, 2007 07:31
1 minute read.

 
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There has been an alarming rise in the number of people diagnosed with tuberculosis in Tel Aviv this year, reports Yediot Tel Aviv. Some 82 people have been diagnosed with the disease, which has been considered rare for some time and the vaccine for which is no longer included in the state's basket of vaccinations. Most of the afflicted are foreign workers and homeless people, but some "regular" residents have also been stricken. Tuberculosis - commonly known as "consumption" - was widespread in impoverished areas in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with sufferers including the writer Sholem Aleichem and the poet Rahel. Children in modern Israel were routinely inoculated against the disease up to the 1980s, when it was classified as rare and removed from the vaccination schedule. The 82 cases diagnosed since the beginning of 2007 lie in stark contrast to just six cases found in Jerusalem in the same period. Doctors said the Tel Aviv cases fell into three main categories: foreign workers, homeless people, and "regular" Israelis infected by people from the first two groups, usually working as their caregivers. The report noted that tuberculosis is an infectious bacteria that can be caught from airborne particles, often from the cough of an infected person. It generally settles in the lungs, but can also affect the brain, spinal cord and kidneys. Symptoms are similar to those of other lung diseases such as bronchitis, but eventually become lethal if untreated. Doctors said the bacteria could be carried for years, and anyone likely to have been exposed to the disease should be checked.

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