Centre to probe Mumbai TB cases

Centre to probe Mumbai TB cases

Days after a Mumbai-based hospital reported India's first case of total drug-resistant tuberculosis, the Union Health Ministry has dispatched a team to Mumbai for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation and determine the threat it poses to public health.

TDR tuberculosis, which is yet to be recognised by the World Health Organisation, is a condition when patients do not respond to first or second line drugs, making it virtually incurable.

Earlier this month, P D Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre has claimed to have found four patients who do not respond to any first and second line drugs, making India the second nation after Iran to report TDR tuberculosis cases.

 “The ministry has sent a team of doctors to Mumbai to ascertain the facts on drug-resistant tuberculosis cases and started situation analysis. It is in touch with the health authorities of Maharashtra, Mumbai corporation and Hinduja hospital,” said an official.

In a correspondence published in the December issue of the journal ‘Clinical Infectious Disease’, the Mumbai team claimed that TDR cases happened because the patients either received inappropriate prescriptions from the private practitioners they visited or did not complete the treatment.

“A careful audit of their prescriptions revealed that three patients received erratic unsupervised second-line drugs, added individually and often in incorrect doses from multiple private doctors over a period of 18 months in an attempt to cure their multi-drug resistant TB,” they reported.

The latest WHO global resistance report estimated that there are more than 110,000 cases of MDR-TB in 2006, which accounts for 20 per cent of the world's MDR cases.

MDR-TB refers to cases in which patients do not respond to two of the most potent first-line drugs and lead to extensively drug-resistant TB in which even second-line drugs fail.  In TDR cases, all first- and second-line drugs fail.