Doctors warned pregnant women and new mothers in six months that they had a higher risk of tuberculosis (TB). They have a 70 times higher risk of having tuberculosis than women in the normal population.
Researchers from the Health Protection Agency warns that doctors noticed symptoms of TB because if left untreatedm it can be fatal.
The study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine examined medical records of more than 190,000 women over 12 years. They found that the TB rate among pregnant women or women who had just given birth within the six months is 15.4 per 100,000 compared with 9.1 per 100,000 among the general population.
The researchers believe, pregnancy can weaken the immune system of women, making it more susceptible to respiratory illnesses.
Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, head of TB surveillance at the HPA and a science specialist in infectious diseases at the University of East Anglia, said, “This study clearly shows in the future guidelines for health workers, they should take into account that the risk of TB may increase during pregnancy or soon after birth, “he said, according to the Daily Mail.
Abubakar said, “pregnant and postpartum women should be asked to observe the signs and symptoms of this disease, especially for those at high risk. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is essential, and if untreated, can be life threatening.”
Women at high risk include women who are in countries with high TB ??cases. According to recent figures, in England, there were 8,483 cases of TB which were diagnosed last year. Experts suspect that one reason for the increasing cases of TB is due to immigrants coming to Britain from parts of Africa and Asia that increased.
The disease is caused by a bacterium that infects the lungs. Symptoms include cough, fever, fatigue, poor appetite, and weight loss.