While the Government of India has an aim to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) by 2025, the dream seems to be a farfetched one as India’s financial capital has seen a steep rise in TB cases in last one year.
While in 2015, 38,667 drug sensitive TB patients were registered in both public and private hospitals, in 2016, the number has reached to 42,115.
Among these drug resistance TB patients, 51% were male and 49% female. According to BMC’s health department, of all the drug sensitive tuberculosis patients reported in 2016, 8.6% are paediatric TB cases.
Health officials said rise in MDR TB cases can be attributed to better diagnosis, while health experts say delay in getting the right diagnosis and treatment is one reason for rise in drug resistant TB cases.
Dr Rajendra Nanavare, tuberculosis expert, said, “It is seen that when a drug resistant patients finally land up to tertiary care hospital, they have already visited over 10 doctors and taken drugs that has not cured them. During this time, they remain infectious and keep spreading the infection. They also develop higher resistant type of TB.”
TB experts in Mumbai say this is a major cause of concern as many TB patients visit several doctors before getting the right diagnosis. It is said one sputum positive TB patient can infect 10 to 15 persons in a year, if left untreated.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global TB report for 2016 estimated that 28 lakh people developed TB in India, which is significantly higher than the earlier estimate of 22 lakh for 2014. It is also estimated that TB kills over 4,50,000 persons in India every year.
“TB prevalence survey in India was last done in 1955. We plan to conduct the prevalence survey. It will be a huge exercise involving a sample size of half a million people. We will toll out this project soon,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director-general of the ICMR.