TB, most prevalent and infectious disease

Health Watch, Normal

The National, Thursday July 19th, 2012

Papua New Guineans face many challenges, including those presented by infectious diseases that affect a large number of young people, Oil Search public affairs manager Ruth Waram says.
In a statement last week, Waram said that reduced their ability to work, care for their families and contribute to the prosperity of the country.
She said one of the most prevalent and concerning of infectious diseases was tuberculosis.
Waram said the United Nations Statistics Division said 337 people in every 100,000 had TB in PNG (2009).
“Most people in Papua New Guinea are aware of this disease and many have experienced its respiratory manifestations,” she said.
“What is less well known is that this organism can infect almost any human organ system.
“A recent case at Oil Search’s Moro Clinic, in Southern Highlands, is a good example of this.
“A 27-year-old, previously a well man, was referred from a nearby hospital.
“He had been unwell for several months with weight loss, fevers, shortness of breath and cough. More recently he had become confused and collapsed.
“When the community doctor assessed his condition, he correctly surmised that he had a collection of fluid in the sack around his heart and that this was crushing his heart and preventing it from pumping in the correct manner.
He said the man was transported to the Oil Search health service’s clinic at Moro by two members of the Oil Search emergency response medical team.
“An ultrasound scan of his heart was conducted which confirmed the presence of fluid and its effect on the heart.
“It was decided to use the scanner to guide a large needle through the patient’s abdominal wall and up into the sack around the heart to drain the fluid.
“Dr Will Davies, Oil Search’s senior medical officer, supervised one of the company’s PNG doctors to perform this challenging procedure.”
Waram said the patient made a rapid recovery and was subsequently transferred to a provincial hospital for anti-tuberculosis treatment and was now doing well.