A look at Tuberculosis, the global epidemic

ISCR said that research for better TB drugs will lead to the development of innovative treatment for drug-resistant TB, thereby reducing India's TB burden, bring down healthcare costs, save lives and accelerate India's progress towards its goal of becoming TB-free by 2025. To know more about the experience of a person who suffered and fought the battle with Drug Resistant Tb- Watch "Doctors on Call" this week on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India, Saturdays at 9:15 AM.

Resistance to antibiotics can develop when a prescribed medicine fails to kill its bacterial target - either because it was the wrong drug, the wrong dose or not taken as prescribed. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, New Delhi, "TB in children is ignored, goes unnoticed and is under-reported".

Hope for patients with drug-resistant TB: Researchers led by an Indian-origin scientist have developed a new drug that may serve as a treatment against multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, a form of the disease that can not be cured with conventional therapies.

Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka advocates integrated patient-centric care and prevention strategies for the eradication of TB, aligned to the "End TB Strategy" adopted by the World Health Organization, and encourages children and people at large to adhere to healthy lifestyles, to keep immune system healthy, your body may even fight off the disease.

Although a small number of repurposed and new drugs have recently become available to treat drug-resistant TB - including bedaquiline, delamanid, and linezolid -, without accurate diagnostics, clear treatment guidelines and improved control efforts, the effectiveness of the drugs could be rapidly lost, the researchers stated. Six countries account for almost two-thirds of the cases: India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa. Earlier, TB was tagged as a disease endemic to the lower strata of the society. Because people are often infected by consuming unpasteurized milk, M. bovis and other zoonotic mycobacteria are thought to cause more "extrapulmonary" tuberculosis in humans - or TB infections outside the lungs.

Bangladesh, which is listed among the 30 high TB burden countries, has an annual occurrence of 225 out of every 1,00,000 people and, on average, 45 out of every 1,00,000 die annually because of tuberculosis.

The new test for TB, Xpert MTB/RIF, could diagnose TB in 90 minutes, capture 70 percent of cases missed by microscopy and could also determine if the strain was resistant to rifampin, the most important anti-TB drug. The WHO has called for Xpert to be the initial diagnostic test in individuals suspected of having drug-resistant TB, but Dowdy said wider use, especially in low-income and remote settings, is hampered by the need for electricity and by the cost. But now it is recognised that people acquiring TB for the first time may get a drug-resistant strain, increasing the likelihood of widespread resistance.

In a comment piece in the journal Dr David W Dowdy, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the U.S., said the report described an epidemic that is at a crossroads.

"People with drug resistant TB who don't have access to the two new drugs continue to be treated with older, more toxic regimens that cure only 50 percent of people treated and cause severe side effects ranging from severe nausea to deafness to psychosis", - MSF Access. "Yet we also have more tools at our disposal than ever before", he wrote.

Government data reveals that there had been a 35 per cent rise in the drug resistant TB case notifications in 2016.

"Over the next decade, it is quite possible that we will see a drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemic of unprecedented global scale". The number of extremely drug resistant (XDR) cases remained stagnant at 556 in 2016.

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