The Ministry of Health is concerned with the increasing number of young people suffering from tuberculosis in all four divisions.
A survey conducted from July to September this year established that 19 TB cases were in babies to 24-year category.
The highest number of patients were between 15 to 24 years, with the figures standing at 15 cases for the third quarter of this year. The Central Division recorded the highest with 28 reported cases.
"It is a great concern for us but the numbers have slightly decreased which is a promising sign. The key intention is to bridge the gap in the health care delivery system. Our priority is promoting wellness in all communities and to everyone," deputy secretary for Public Health Dr Josefa Koroivueta said.
According to the World Health Organisation website (www.who.int), "tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious lung disease that spreads through the air. When people with the disease cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs, known as bacilli, into the air. Only a small number of the bacilli need to be inhaled to cause an infection".
"However, not all people infected with TB bacilli will become sick. The immune system either kills the germs, or walls off the TB bacilli where they can lie dormant for years," it said. "Failure of the immune system to control infection with TB bacilli leads to active disease, when TB bacilli multiply and cause damage in the body. Left untreated, each person with infectious TB will spread the germs to about 10 to 15 people every year."