PUNE: The state has recorded 155 cases of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) in the last three years. Of the 155 cases, 115 alone were recorded last year. Barring nine cases, most of the patients diagnosed with XDR-TB are from Mumbai (123), Navi Mumbai (25) and Pune district (8).
XDR-TB is a rare form of tuberculosis that is resistant to at least four of the core anti-TB drugs. It takes a substantially longer time to treat the drug-resistant form of TB than the drug-susceptible form and requires the use of second-line anti-TB drugs, which are expensive.
Health experts say the detection of XDR-TB cases is not surprising, given the widespread prevalence of TB and the rising cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in India. That patients often do not complete the recommended treatment is also a factor adding to the numbers.
Maharashtra's current burden of drug-susceptible TB is 1.34 lakh cases and there are 9,716 multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases apart from the 155 XDR TB cases, which are more difficult to treat.
"Of the 155 patients in the state, 46 have succumbed to the infection so far and the rest are undergoing treatment. To expedite early detection and treatment, we have proposed three more centres for testing XDR-TB in Pune, Nagpur and one more in Mumbai," said Manohar Pawar, joint director (TB and leprosy), state public health department.
In 2013, as many as 33 patients died of the infection, 12 patients died in 2012 and one in 2011, Pawar said.
People with drug-resistant TB remain infectious for a longer period, despite the treatment and this may prolong the risk of transmission in the household. "Patients are educated on cough etiquette and family members are also made aware about the precautions to ward off the disease," Pawar said.
Three patients detected with XDR-TB in Pune city include a 25-year-old woman and two men in the 30 to 35 age group. "All the three patients are undergoing treatment and are recovering," said N D Thakur, chief of the Pune Municipal Corporation's (PMC) TB control unit.
The state health department started diagnosing XDR-TB after the first case was reported in 2011 at Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai. Earlier, the state government would send the patient's sample to Bangalore-based National Tuberculosis Institute for confirmation of XDR-TB. However, in December last year, the state government gave a green signal to Hinduja Hospital's laboratory to carry out tests for XDR-TB. Currently, it is the only laboratory in the state to test for XDR-TB.
Source: The Times of India