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Article ID:0000139278Updated on:2020年3月16日更新印刷ページ表示

Tuberculosis 

Tuberculous: Not a Disease of the Past

Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that caused a public health crisis in Japan from the Meiji Period until the mid-forties. It was the number one cause of death in Japan until 1950, killing more than 100,000 people every year.

With medical advancements and improved living standards, TB can now be treated and cured with medication. However, in Japan there are still approximately 17,000 new cases of TB every year, over 100 of which are in Hiroshima City. Tuberculosis is most definitely not a disease of the past.

Globally, Japan is still ranked as a medium-burden TB country*, and we are facing new challenges in recent years as TB patients get older and older and incidences of TB increase among young foreign residents.

*Countries with more than 10 but less than 100 newly registered patients per 100,000 inhabitants.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease transmitted through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Despite contracting TB, many people live their entire lives without presenting any symptoms (latent TB). However, if their immune system becomes compromised, latent TB can become active.

Common symptoms of active TB include coughing with sputum and a slightly high fever. If left untreated, the disease will get worse and can become life-threatening, and there is a high risk of infecting others.

TB and the Elderly

In 2018, there were 108 cases of TB diagnosed in Hiroshima City. Approximately 70% of patients were 65 or older.

It is thought that many of these patients 65 years or older were infected in the past when TB was more widespread, and as they age and their immune systems weaken, the TB infection has become active.

The City of Hiroshima offers free TB examinations (chest x-rays) to those 65 and over. We recommend that you take this examination once a year, even if you have no noticeable symptoms, such as coughing.

For more details about the TB examination, click here (Japanese).

Age groups of newly diagnosed tuberculosis patients in Hiroshima City 2018

Age groups of newly diagnosed tuberculosis patients in Hiroshima City 2018

If You Are Diagnosed With Tuberculosis

When is it deemed necessary to take actions to prevent the spread of TB, health centers will, in accordance with the law*, advise those who have been diagnosed with TB to be hospitalized and for their attendance at work to be restricted. Moreover, when there is a chance family, friends, and those around the patient maybe have been infected, they will be asked to take a TB examination (chest x-rays, blood tests, etc).

*Act on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases

Financial Aid for Tuberculosis Treatment

Tuberculosis patients or their guardians can apply for the medical expenses involved in treating TB to be covered by public funds.

When these costs are covered by public funds, treatment must follow the standard TB treatment regimen stipulated by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

Please note that the amount of financial aid will vary according to income, course of treatment, and whether treatment was received as an inpatient or outpatient. For further details, please contact your local ward health center.

Treating Tuberculosis

Treatment for TB involves a 6-9 month course of anti-tuberculosis drugs (medicine that kills Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis)). The pathogen M. tuberculosis is very hard to kill and thus treatment is a lengthy process. Patients that stop taking their medication before completing the full course of treatment because symptoms have subsided run the risk of reinfection and remaining sick. There is also a risk that the bacteria will become resistant to one or more of the drugs involved in treatment (drug-resistant TB). Treating drug-resistant TB is very difficult, resulting in a treatment regimen that lasts even longer than standard treatment.

If you contract TB, it is important to take your medications exactly as prescribed by your physician for the duration of the 6-9 month treatment regimen.

If you experience side-effects from the anti-tuberculosis drugs, always consult with your doctor before stopping your medication.

Preventing Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis bacteria can infect the body but does not always cause any symptoms. In most cases, the immune system will stop the bacteria multiplying.

A healthy immune system can help prevent the spread of TB and the onset of active TB.

Four tips for a healthy lifestyle and strong immune system:

  1. Get appropriate exercise
  2. Eat balanced meals
  3. Get plenty of rest
  4. Do not smoke

Infants have weak immune systems and often become seriously ill if they contract TB. The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG)* vaccine is an effective measure of prevention.

*Please vaccinate infants before their first birthday. The recommended inoculation period is 5-8 months old.

Information for Medical Institutions

Notifications of TB Diagnoses – Infectious Diseases Law

Under the provisions of Article 12, paragraph 1 of the Act on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases, when a physician has diagnosed a patient with TB, the physician must file a notification with the nearest public health center immediately.

Additionally, under the provisions of Article 53-11 of the Act on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases, when a TB patient is hospitalized or a TB patient who has been hospitalized is discharged, the administrator of the hospital must notify the nearest public health center within seven days.

Tuberculosis Prevention Week and World Tuberculosis Day

The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare designates September 24-30 as Tuberculosis Prevention Week in an effort to raise public awareness about TB and disseminate accurate information about the disease.

In addition, at the World Health Organization’s 1997 World Health Assembly, March 24 was designated World Tuberculosis Day. This date marks the day on which German bacteriologist Robert Koch announced in 1882 that he had discovered the bacterium M. tuberculosis that causes TB. On this day, countries around the world are called upon to scale up and strengthen measures against TB.

Ward Office Health Centers

Name

Address

Telephone Number

Naka Health Center

Longevity and Health Services Division (in the Naka Ward Community Welfare Center)

Ote-machi 4-1-1

504-2528

(Preventative Medical Services Section)

Higashi Health Center

Community Support Division(in the Higashi Ward General Welfare Center)

Higashi-kaniya-cho 9-34

568-7729

(Community Support Section 2)

Minami Health Center

Longevity and Health Services Division (in the Minami Ward Office Annex)

Minami-machi 1-4-46

250-4108

(Preventative Medical Services Section)

Nishi Health Center

Longevity and Health Services Division(in the Nishi Ward Community Welfare Center)

Fukushima-cho 2-24-1

294-6235

(Preventative Medical Services Section)

Asaminami Health Center

Longevity and Health Services Division(in the Asaminami Ward General Welfare Center)

Nakasu 1-38-13

831-4942

(Preventative Medical Services Section)

Asakita Health Center

Longevity and Health Services Division(in the Asakita Ward General Welfare Center)

Kabe 3-19-22

819-0586

(Preventative Medical Services Section)

Aki Health Center

Longevity and Health Services Division(in the Aki Ward General Welfare Center)

Funakoshi-minami 3-2-16

821-2809

(Preventative Medical Services Section)

Saeki Health Center

Longevity and Health Services Division (in the Saeki Ward Office Annex)

Kairoen 1-4-5

943-9731

(Preventative Medical Services Section)

Useful Links 

Inquiries regarding this page

Preventative Medical Services Section, Health Promotion Division, Health Department, Health and Welfare Bureau
1-6-34 Kokutaiji-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima
Tel: 082-504-2622 // Fax: 082-504-2258
Email: k-suishin@city.hiroshima.lg.jp


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