Researchers at the PD Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai have detected around 12 cases of Totally drug-resistant TB in the last 2-3 months (6 men and 6 women with an average age of 32.5 years).India is only the second country in the world after Iran to report this form of TB.
What is totally drug resistant TB?
Patients are said to suffer from Totally Drug-Resistant TB when the disease does not respond to either the first and second line treatments for TB. This is the TB bacilli’s latest avatar after the Multi-Drug-Resistant TB (MDR-TB) and the Extremely Drug Resistant TB (XDR-TB).
What is the cause of the totally drug resistant TB?
It happens when:
a. A TB patient does not complete his course of treatment which lasts around 6-9 months. Many of them start feeling better after a month or two and discontinue with the drugs. The TB bacilli are not completely eliminated from the system. They start developing resistance to drugs and multiply again.
b. Wrong prescriptions are given by the doctors – either the wrong drugs or the wrong dosages.
Why is it dangerous to general public?
TB is a very contagious disease. It spreads through air like the common cold. It majorly affects the lungs, but can affect any part of the body. It can spread when infected people cough, sneeze, talk or spit. It is doubly dangerous since it is difficult to know if a person is infected. They need not appear sick in the initial stages as the immune system walls off the bacilli and it can lie dormant there for years. It can become active when the immunity of the body is lowered.