Western Cape health authorities are urging TB patients not to default on taking their medication.

Many patients have stopped going to clinics – probably due to lockdown and Covid-19 fears.

The department – together with Community Health Workers – has launched a plan to trace TB patients and get them back on treatment.

If patients can’t be traced, they will contact family members.

The Health department’s Monique Johnstone says a more stubborn form of TB can result from not finishing the full course of medication.

“If patients don’t continue taking their medicines or aren’t taking all their medicines regularly, this can be very dangerous. The TB bacteria will grow, and they will remain sick for a longer time. The bacteria may also become resistant to the medicines they are taking. They may need new, different medicines to kill the TB bacteria if the old medicines no longer work”.