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Saturday, January 14, 2012

India : TDR-TB claims 2, govt plays mute spectator

Via DNA India :

" Even as the state health department and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) await the arrival of the central tuberculosis division team to review the deadly total drug resistant (TDR) tuberculosis in the city, two of the total 12 persons found to be afflicted with the strain have succumbed in the past one week.
The two patients, both Mumbaikars, were seeking treatment at the PD Hinduja hospital on OPD basis.

Confirming the deaths, Dr Rohit Amle of Hinduja hospital, said, “A 21-year-old youth and a 30-year-old woman suffering from TDR-TB have succumbed during the week. While we came to know about one of the deaths after inquiring with the family, in the other case the family came forward and informed us.”

Commenting on the apathy of the government authorities on the issue, Dr Zarir F Udwadia, the Hinduja chest physician who headed the study of TDR-TB, said, “The response of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is refreshingly different from the initial denial-and-panic response of the local and state authorities. The WHO is going to have an emergency meeting on the issue.”

While expecting the government to take quicker decisions, as delay would mean risking more lives to TDR-TB, Dr Udwadia said, “We know of one patient who transmitted TDR-TB to her daughter. It is estimated that on average, a tuberculosis patient infects 10 to 20 contacts in a year, and there’s no reason to suspect that this strain is any less transmissible.”

Meanwhile, the state health department is still mulling if the isolation of the afflicted persons is necessary to contain the deadly pathogen, with the department asking the BMC to make a detailed progress report of the patients, who are being treated for the past six months, said director general of state health services Dr Suresh Gupta."

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