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[LISTEN] Is this the new TB patient? About half of infected people don’t have symptoms

  • For years, experts have told the public that someone with tuberculosis (TB) is coughing, feeling very poorly, losing weight, having night sweats and fevers during the day.
  • Now, research suggests that the mental image people have of a TB patient is wrong. About half of people who have evidence of the bacteria in their spit don’t experience any symptoms at all.
  • Little is known about whether those with asymptomatic TB spread the bacteria to others, or whether all such cases will go on to develop symptoms. In this podcast, Emily Wong from the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban explains how scientists are thinking about this type of TB patient, and what the health department is already doing to catch more asymptomatic cases.

Joan van Dyk was a health journalist, senior health journalist and news editor at Bhekisisa between 2017 and 2023.

Danny Booysen is a freelance audio technical producer and has over 30 years of experience in the broadcast industry.