Wednesday, 13 December 2017

India has the highest number of TB patients across the world

India has the highest number of TB patients across the world
Missing doses can defeat the purpose of DOTS therapy

New Delhi, 12 December 2017: According to recent reports, with 2.79 million cases, 4.23 lakh deaths, and an average of 211 new infections diagnosed per 100,000 people, India currently has the highest number of tuberculosis (TB) patients across the globe. India also has the most number of MDR-TB patients in the world as well as the largest number of ‘missing’ TB patients. There are several million who have not been identified, notified, or treated and these people remain off radar.

TB is a highly infectious disease cured by providing proper medication at the right time for the full duration of the treatment. The drug regimen is called DOTS and is provided free under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP). It is based on the principle that a regular and uninterrupted supply of high-quality anti-TB drugs must be administered to cure the disease and prevent the occurrence of the MDR-TB.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “TB is a major public health concern in India. Not only is it a major cause of morbidity and mortality but also poses a huge economic burden on the country. Elimination, which is defined as restricting new infections to less than one case per 100,000 people, is possible only when patients get diagnosed and cured without any break in treatment. Any interruption in treatment can exponentially raise the patient’s risk of developing MDR-TB, which is harder to treat. Missing doses defeats the very purpose of DOTS therapy, which is meant to ensure strict compliance through supervised consumption of medicines. As many as 900,000 people with TB do not have access to proper treatment, which means they risk developing drug-resistant TB and infecting others.”

Reporting is important to trace contacts of the person with infectious TB. All contacts of the patient should be screened for TB and put on treatment if required. This cascade of screening of contacts, at home and workplace, identifies individuals at risk and prevents further spread of TB, including MDR TB.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “The approach to all notifiable diseases should be based on DTR: Diagnose, Treat, and Report. Diagnose early, using sputum Gene Xpert test; Treat: Complete and effective treatment based on national guidelines, using FDC; and Report: Mandatory reporting.”

Here are some tips that can help avoid TB infection from spreading.

Wash your hands after sneezing, coughing or holding your hands near your mouth or nose.
Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Discard used tissues in a plastic bag, then seal and throw it away.
Do not attend work or school.
Avoid close contact with others.
Sleep in a room away from other family members.
Ventilate your room regularly. TB spreads in small closed spaces. Put a fan in your window to blow out air that may contain bacteria. 

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