The department of health must intensify security at all tuberculosis treating hospitals to control the spread of infection, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) has said.
This follows the department of health's announcement that about 118 Extreme Drug Resistant (XDR) and Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB patients escaped from two hospitals in the Eastern Cape last month.
On Tuesday, seven TB patients were still unaccounted for.
"It is disturbing to learn that up to now there are still patients who have not come back because patients in all TB hospitals and clinics were given health education on how infectious TB is. MDR AND XDR TB are worse," Denosa said.
Patients endangering others
It said it was concerned that these patients were endangering themselves and exposing their relatives and the general public to the infection.
"Patients were aware that they should be in total isolation from the broader public and must be on continuous treatment for a long period in order to be cured."
XDR TB and MDR TB are spread by coughing or sneezing.
Denosa commended the department for getting a court order to force these patients to return to hospital to continue their treatment. It also pleaded with relatives and community leaders to take the infected patients back to hospitals immediately.
Department spokesman Siyanda Manana earlier said the number of missing patients in the province had reduced to seven - one from Fort Grey and six from Jose Pearson TB hospital.
Search for missing patients continues
He said the department would continue searching until all thepatients had returned to the hospitals.
The department and traditional leaders embarked on a door-to-door search for the missing patients last week.
Manana said relatives who had symptoms such as sweating, tiredness, loss of appetite and persistent coughing were urged to go to their nearest clinics for a screening.
He said the department had strengthened security in both hospitals. – (Sapa)
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