Saturday, 9 April 2011


Reality. When my colleague from China announced that she had contracted tuberculosis, I realized that because we pursue similar work activities around a region of the world I am just as vulnerable as she was. My immediate thought was that she may have been easily exposed during her flights. A simple cough or sneeze from a seatmate is a timebomb as droplets of potential TB bacteria circulate through the cabin into the clueless mass of passengers. Yes, travel is a lethal vector in mankind's health misfortunes.

A couple of years back, I felt invulnerable by not wanting to wear face masks in planes and in airports even when the SARS virus raged. That epidemic I know was taken very seriously not only by airport authorities but also by passengers themselves. At its height, I boarded a plane from Charles de Gaulle and pleasantly found the flight which is usually overbooked to have been less than half-filled. Despite that, I was not bumped into the next higher class.

Back home, my route at around 6pm takes me through a major street with hovels of videoke joints where retinues of young women front these establishments serving beer and barbecued pork. Working class gentlemen are among regular customers. I am nearly certain that on lucid moments with beer in hand and a tune to beat, these men suddenly kiss their women-hostesses on lips, not the dry kind though. A fertile ground for TB infection. Whether all these women are carriers or get infected by their clients is not an issue anymore in the same way that these workers are supposedly certified by the local health authorities. As TB is a public health problem, I do not think that preventive measures are easy to institutionalize particularly when they threaten livelihood and the economy.

My colleague is now well after a long regimen of treatment with what she called multi-drugs daily. She and I live in this part of Asia where according to statistics about a third of the population is infected with tuberculosis. Because it is a disease of poverty, TB is difficult to stem and much less a problem in treatment as compliance has always been unenforceable with daily and lengthy dosages not to mention the body's resistance to the drugs.

I do not have a choice but be exposed to this danger which could however be managed. What I know is that the threat is real , the disease curable, early recognition key, and prevention essential.

After a long while (haven't had any last month), I posted this not-so entertaining item but thought it may be relevent today from following the blogs I had.


  1. i'm so glad that you brought this up. i think TB is something that people should be wary about. i have a friend who was supposed to head to japan for a scholarship program, and just when he did his medicals, he was surprised to find out that he had TB!

    this friend of mine is particularly sheltered, and needless to say, all of us were baffled as to why he had contacted this disease.

    all of us should really be vigilant, because i know for a fact that once this disease drags on undetected for a long time, there can potentially be damning and irreversible effects.

    hey, we miss you around here. :)

  2. Peter, how are you? It has been while. I hope life is treating you well.

    I guess we all take some form of risks in our job, some more than others. At the end of the day, it seems the risks are all worth it.

    I hope to meet you soon. You still owe me sir.


  3. Hi Clyde. Will try not to be away from cyberworld that often. But hey, I read your posts.

    Dearest Kane, I am well and know from reading your posts that Machu Pichu has done you a lot of good. And yes, I owe you.