Not notifying TB cases a crime

Vitamin A deficiency may increase risk of tuberculosis

A new estimate by World Health Organization (WHO) for Western Pacific Region show a 14 per cent reduction in the incidence of tuberculosis (TB).However with 1.8 million people infected annually in the region, much more needs to be done. Today, President and PM have also come out to address the issue of Tuberculosis in India., urging it to stop by 2050.

Section 270 says a malignant act likely to spread infectious disease unsafe to life could land a person in jail for up to two years, or with fine, or both.

For example, the first community-based care program for TB that is resistant to multiple drugs, initiated by Partners in Health in Peru in the mid-1990s, had cure rates exceeding 80 percent; overall, Partners in Health has treated more than 10,500 people with drug-resistant TB, with more than 75 percent cured, compared to a global average of little more than 50 percent.

In its release, the ministry also mentioned that 28 of the new cases that were diagnosed are HIV-positive persons (24%), and it noted that tuberculosis is "one of the leading causes of death in HIV positive persons, and in 2016, was responsible for about 40% of HIV deaths". Of the 10.4 million people who caught the disease previous year, too few have been properly diagnosed or treated.

The NTBP says that the persons most susceptible to the disease are those with weak immune systems, and these include persons with HIV; those who had the infection in the last two years; persons who have diabetes or cancer, abuse alcohol or illegal drugs, or received incorrect treatment for a TB infection in the past; and the very old.

The vast majority of TB-related deaths occur in lower income countries.

The major challenge the country is facing now is the treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB, mainly due to complications in diagnostic process. The disease, which used to be referred to as "consumption", is associated with the Victorian era, a time before vaccines or antibiotics. Living in poverty makes you more likely to get TB, and getting TB makes you more likely to be pushed into poverty (or deeper into it). Actually, this disease spreads through air. India accounts for about a quarter of the global TB burden.

Of late, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a TB-free India campaign.

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"The world has the resources to end the interlinked epidemics of tuberculosis and HIV, but political commitment and country action are lacking", said the Executive Director of UNAIDS - the Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS - Michel Sidibé.

"Early diagnosis and complete treatment of tuberculosis is the corner-stone of tuberculosis prevention and control strategy".

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been fighting TB for more than 30 years and is among the biggest treatment providers.

The notification also requires chemists and druggists to provide district officials with personal details and information on the medicines taken by TB patients to the health department without fail.

"We are using this medium to encourage all patients and contacts of individuals with cough of more than 2 to 3 weeks, sputum production, haemoptysis (coughing out of blood), chest wall pain, noisy breathing, breathlessness, frequent colds, loss of weight, loss of appetite, fever and night sweats, to report to the nearest health facility for necessary tests".

THE Spinnaker Tower will turn red this weekend to mark World TB Day.

Finally, stay aware and stay TB-free!

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