Tuberculosis: More than just a cough

From misdiagnosis to recovery.

28 Mar 2024 02:00pm
Tuberculosis can be easily misdiagnosed. Photo for illustrative purposes only - 123RF
Tuberculosis can be easily misdiagnosed. Photo for illustrative purposes only - 123RF

SHAH ALAM – A patient who experienced severe coughing until producing clotted blood, initially thought to be due to witchcraft, was actually diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) disease.

The woman who only wanted to be known as Izzati admitted her negligence in delaying seeing a doctor as she prioritised traditional treatment.

"After undergoing traditional treatment, I fell ill and was admitted to the hospital before being diagnosed with tuberculosis.

"I stopped the traditional treatment and focused on hospital treatment and medications," she said.

Izzati mentioned going through phases of being in a wheelchair, experiencing miscarriages, vomiting blood, and until now, has not fully recovered.

Meanwhile, a former patient known only as Tamizi shared the symptoms of tuberculosis he experienced.

He said he had a severe high fever in the early morning and night, as well as nonstop severe coughing, which he thought to be witchcraft.

"I had a high fever at night, but it disappeared after Subuh (dawn prayer).

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"The cough was so severe that it caused abdominal cramps, tightness in the chest, blood coming out, which I initially thought was witchcraft and quick fatigue," he said.

Tamizi, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2002, stated that tuberculosis easily spreads, especially through conversation, coughing, and sneezing.

He believed he contracted tuberculosis because he often interacted with foreign workers who entered the country without valid documents and health checks.

"I work in the construction area, so when I see them coughing while soldering iron or during mealtime, I just consider it as a common cough.

"But when I got infected, I realised that the tuberculosis bacteria can spread through conversation, coughing, or sneezing," he added.

In addition, Tamizi also recounted his first treatment experience, receiving injections and taking many medications until feeling overwhelmed.

He explained that the treatment continued for six consecutive months until he recovered.

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