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Cambodia bans unreliable TB tests

Cambodia has banned unreliable serological tuberculosis blood test kits due to their rampant and unethical use by private medical practices, government officials and the World Health Organisation said yesterday.

“The negative outcomes from the use of these tests include developing drug resistance in patients and keeping a patient alive, but not curing them of TB, which causes ongoing transmission to the community and of course, their death,” said the WHO’s Dr Rajendra Yadav.

Cambodia has had a free-of-charge national TB program since 2001, said Dr Mao Tan Eang of the government’s National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control (CNET), but some people “prefer to use private sector health centres, and this is where the serological test kits are used”.

A shift toward the free program, he said, would improve care.

“Unfortunately, unethical medical practice in the private sector provided [a significant boost] to these kits in recent years, without bothering much on ... implications of false-positive and false-negative results,” said WHO country director Dr Pieter Van Maaren in a press release.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at



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