By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Even as the Centre has launched a renewed fight
against tuberculosis, the incidence of multi-drug resistance TB has
gone up in the country causing concern to doctors and health experts.
A recent survey of TB cases in Nellore district revealed that 4.5 per
cent of all TB cases related to multi drug resistance TB strain.
Tuberculosis bacterium has turned resistant to a number of available
drugs, as many patients do not follow the complete treatment regimen.
Skipping medicines even for a single day will result in the bacterium
developing resistance to antibiotics.
A team of doctors from Narayana Medical College and General Hospital
in Nellore studied a little over 2000 samples of suspected TB cases.
Of them 110 were positive for the TB bacterium, Mycobacterium
tuberculosis. The doctors found that 4.54 per cent of TB positive
cases were of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. The study gains
significance in the backdrop of the decision by the UK and other
developed countries to insist on TB-free certificate for the immigrants.
India has one of the highest number of TB cases and a majority of
patients often fails to complete the prescribed drug course, which is
quite long. The researchers, P Madhurima, PS Reddy, P Vasundhara and V
Murthy Reddy, said the incidence of drug resistant Mycobacterium
tuberculosis strains had been increasing, while TB continues to remain
a major health problem in India. The number of latent TB cases, where
the disease is not manifest, is also high in the country.
“About 15 per cent samples were resistant to one or more
anti-tubercular drugs, while 10 per cent samples showed single drug
resistance, The samples were resistant to drugs like Rifampicin,
Ethambutol, Streptomycin and Isoniazid. HIV co-infection among multi
drug resistant tuberculosis was 2.7 per cent,” they pointed out.
They attributed the higher incidence of resistance among patients to
poor compliance of the drug regimen despite the availability of free
medicine through the DOTS programme.
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