'Do not panic over TB'

Families of M-DR and X-DR tuberculosis patients need only get tested for the disease if symptoms presented themselves, deputy director general for clinical services, Dr Nandi Diliza, said in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Families of M-DR and X-DR tuberculosis patients need only get tested for the disease if symptoms presented themselves, deputy director general for clinical services, Dr Nandi Diliza, said in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Health department officials have set the record straight after residents panicked for their safety following the escape of 49 X-DR and M-DR tuberculosis patients from a TB hospital in the Nelson Mandela municipality last month.

"I think that there was a miscommunication - there is no need to panic. Family members who have come into contact with the patients need only be tested if symptoms present themselves," said Diliza.

These symptoms include tiredness, lethargy and flu-like symptoms.

"Those who came into direct contact with the patients need only go to a local hospital or clinic if these symptoms present themselves," she said.

Authorities were still looking for eight patients who absconded from a Port Elizabeth hospital last month. - Sapa

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