Saudi Arabia: nearly 1,900 people infected with tuberculosis in 2020

Residential and commercial properties can be found on the city skyline next to a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Authorities in Jeddah have closed a shopping center and a large restaurant for failing to comply with the rules to fight against the coronavirus.
Image Credit: Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi: Some 1,897 people were infected with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) in Saudi Arabia in 2020, with an infection rate of 5.42 per 100,000, while Jeddah topped the list of cities with 490 cases , revealed a report from the Ministry of Health.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria and most often affects the lungs. It is spread through the air when infected patients cough, sneeze, or spit. A person only needs to inhale a few germs to be infected.

Infectious disease consultant Dr Tariq Al Azraqi attributed the increase in cases in Jeddah to pilgrims coming to Mecca from East Asian countries such as Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and their mixing with the population. Most visitors are diagnosed in hospitals in Jeddah.

Riyadh came in second with 409 cases, followed by Al Sharqiya 223, Mecca 182, Jazan 178, Medina 97, Asir 62. The category of young people between 25 and 35 years old recorded the highest infection rate with 565 cases, those over 65 years old recorded 155, those between 55 and 65 years old (175), 258 cases were recorded in people between 45 and 55 years old, 397 cases in people aged 35 to 45 and 16 cases in children under 5 years old.

Every year, 10 million people contract tuberculosis. Although it is a preventable and curable disease, 1.5 million people die of tuberculosis each year, making it the deadliest infectious disease in the world, according to the World Health Organization ( WHO).

Most people with TB live in low- and middle-income countries, but TB is found all over the world. About half of all people with TB are found in eight countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and South Africa.

It is estimated that about a quarter of the world’s population is infected with the tuberculosis bacteria. Only 5 to 15% of these people will get sick with active tuberculosis. The rest are infected with tuberculosis but are not sick and cannot transmit the disease. Tuberculosis infection and illness can be cured with antibiotics.

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