In the new cases, which were found in a first-of-its-kind door-to-door campaign carried out by the state health department, the patients were unaware that they had TB.
The survey covered five corporations, including Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and was carried out in January this year.
“The drive was to find active TB cases. We had selected five corporations and asked concerned TB officers to give names of high risk areas for TB cases in their respective surroundings. We found 180 people with sputum positive TB and they were unaware of the infection,” said Dr Sanjeev Kamble, Joint Director, Directorate of Health Services.
One sputum positive TB patient can infect 10–15 persons in a year if left untreated. In Mumbai, the high-risk areas where door-to-door campaign was carried out included Dharavi, where Asia’s largest slum population reside.
He said nearly 8 lakh people from BMC, Thane Municipal Corporation, Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation, Pune Municipal Corporation and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation areas were screened during the 16 days programme.
“We have decided to conduct such surveys thrice a year, in different corporations and visit possible high risk areas. Our next survey will be in June-July followed by another survey in December,” said Kamble.
He said people who tested negative for TB bacilli were asked to undergo an X-ray.
“All those screened were sensitised about the disease. Those who were positive for TB are put on treatment. Only two people from Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation’s jurisdiction were found to have multi-drug resistant form of TB,” said Kamble.
“Most of them have latent form of TB infection. We need to keep our immunity strong to avoid active TB. Awareness on TB will go a long way to help us beat the disease,” said Dr Rajendra Nanavare, Consultant Pharmcovigilance at International Union Against TB and Lung Disease.