Rise in cases of TB a cause for concern

Nine million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) are added every year world-wide, and India’s share is 2.1 million. Three million cases go undetected and our country accounts for one-third of them.

The world-wide scenario prompted WHO to observe this year’s World TB Prevention Day on March 24 with the slogan — ‘Reach, treat, cure every one’.

The day is observed every year on March 24 to mark the revelation of German scientist Robert Koch. On that day, at a meeting in Berlin in 1882, he had made know of his discovery of the bacteria, mycobacterium tuberculosis . A lot of research had been taking place for a long time on the disease that was killing people for the last many millenniums.

Ahead of this year’s World TB Prevention Day, District TB Control Officer N. Vasundhara said 50 per cent of the population was infected with the bacteria and it would flare up when the immunity of an individual was low.

Officially, there are 203 TB patients in every 1 lakh population and the figure will be more in areas such as fishermen colonies, and where people live in congested areas without proper ventilation and lack nutritious food.

For the last many years, all HIV suspected cases are tested for TB and vice-versa. Since HIV makes one weak, there are chances of such persons being infected with TB also. Symptoms of TB are: cough that continues for two weeks or more; fever during evening time; loss of appetite and body weight; pain in the chest, and blood in sputum. TB could be detected by testing the sputum and treated through DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course) for six to eight weeks.

Patients should not stop taking drugs midway through.

They should complete the full course. Medicines are available free of cost in all government clinics and hospitals. The disease spreads through air when a patient coughs or sneezes.

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