Threat of drug-resistant TB has PE health officials on alert

Mthetho Ndoni

Mthetho Ndoni

Nelson Mandela Metro health officials are taking precautionary measures after the death of six people in Port Elizabeth, possibly from multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).

At least 14 people in the Eastern Cape are thought to have died from the virus.

Mzukisi Ndara, a provincial health department spokesman, said they were waiting for results from the national health services to confirm or dismiss the suspicion.

But he said the diagnoses done on the six people did not necessarily suggest they had contracted MDR-TB.

He said: "MDR-TB has occurred in five provinces, but not in the Eastern Cape. Laboratory tests suggest it could be from anywhere in the country."

Ndara said his department had identified three hospitals that would be used for testing patients who had not shown any positive response in the second phase of treatment for tuberculosis.

The three hospitals that have been identified as centres to oversee the pilot programme are the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha, the Jose Pearson Health Centre in Port Elizabeth and the Grey Hospital in King William's Town

He said the department had established isolation wards where patients could be monitored.