Mumbai to improve its TB control program
May 23, 2016: One of the biggest health problems in India is Tuberculosis (TB), with approximately 3 million people in the country who have been positively identified to be infected with the bacillus My-cobacterium tuberculosis. TB is a major health issue due to its communicable nature, and adequate steps in its prevention, detection, and promoting treatment are always being invested upon by the Indian government.
Apart from this global epidemic, the situation has worsened after the phenomenon of drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), and of late, the totally drug resistant TB (TDR-TB).
The treatment of TB is using drugs such as rifampicin, isoniazid, ethambutol and pyrazinamide as varying combinations. In the case of multi drug resistant TB, injectable antibiotics are administered along with the drug cocktail to combat the causative mycobacterium.
The Government of India is constantly on the lookout for modalities to control the spread of this epidemic. Their most recent investment has been on a diagnostic tool, GeneXpert, which is a sophisticated equipment used to detect the TB mycobacterium. Contrary to the traditional sputum culture or silver staining method, which could take up to a week to yield results, GeneXpert is rapid in confirming the strain of TB that the person is infected with. The detection principle is by DNA analysis of the mycobacterium, which varies in the case of MDR or TDR-TB, thus enabling easy identification. At present, there are 16 such instruments in the city of Mumbai, and the Government has ordered 5 more of these equipment, which is a major step in placing a check on TB. Detection of TB using GeneXpert is one of the WHO recommended diagnostic aids to establish the infection in a suspected individual.
After over 8 years of success achieved with GeneXpert, Mumbai is now geared for prompt detection of the bacterium in children and adults alike.
Dr. Jay Shinde