ALMOST everyone in Fiji is a likely carrier of the tuberculosis (TB) germ.
This was made clear yesterday at the World Tuberculosis Day celebrations by PJ Twomey Hospital's TB clinic medical officer Dr William Kaitani.
"Once you're exposed to TB and you have an infection with you, you'll have a primary complex that will stay with you for the rest of your life," he said.
"If your resistance is strong, you may be able to kill it, if your resistance is weak, then you'll develop TB. It will exist as dormant — so most of us are actually carriers of TB germs."
Dr Kaitani said because the airborne disease was so contagious, keeping one's immune system strong was one of the best preventative measures to take because this reduced the chances of the germ making you sick.
"We thought at one time that TB was really going down in Fiji — they predicted that by year 2000, TB would be eliminated from the world, but this was not so because in 1989/90s until 93, TB resurged and as a result, in 1993, it was declared a global emergency.
"And there are too many reasons why TB came back — one was HIV/AIDS, the second was drug resistance and the other was ease of travel and stress."
He said typically, because TB feeds on weak immune systems, people with HIV/AIDS were more likely to get it if they get the germ because their immune system was already weakened.