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May 26, 2017

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World Tuberculosis Day campaigns to kick off

TAIPEI -- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that it will launch nationwide campaigns in April and May following World Tuberculosis Day on March 24 to both raise awareness about the disease and focus on the importance of early diagnosis.

Street artists will give live performances in Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Hualien County on the weekends over the next two months to spread information about TB, said the CDC.

It is hoped that discrimination against TB patients can be eliminated as the public will get to know about the real health threat from TB, which is the most commonly reported notifiable disease in Taiwan, said CDC Director-General Chang Feng-yee.

There remains misunderstanding about the disease, according to the CDC's latest report, which points out that 50.8 percent of Taiwanese people do not know that after about two weeks of effective treatment, TB patients with non-resistant active infections are no longer contagious.

The report also revealed that 36.7 percent of those surveyed feel uncomfortable about sitting beside a TB patient, while 46.2 percent expressed concern about being discriminated against should they be diagnosed with the disease.

Thanks to medical advances, the country's incidence of TB has actually been declining in recent years, the CDC said.

In 2005, there were 72.5 TB cases for every 100,000 people, for a total of 16,472 cases nationwide. By 2013, the figures had fallen to an estimated 51.5 cases per 100,000 people, with 11,800 reported cases, it said.

With more research efforts on the way, the CDC said medical treatment will be made more accessible for disadvantaged populations, while new drugs and examination techniques will align existing national standards with international models.

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