Karnataka records highest TB deaths: Report

Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Nagaland have reported the least percentage of deaths as per the India TB report 2019. Photo/AFP

The death rate of people with tuberculosis is highest in Karnataka’s government hospitals, according to the recent India TB Report 2019.

The report indicates that 6.20% of people with tuberculosis, treated at government-run hospitals have died.

Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Nagaland have reported the least percentage of deaths as per the report.

Ask officials and they attribute the death rate to the high prevalence of HIV in parts of the state. Dr Seenappa, joint director, TB, department of health and family welfare, said, “Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Bagalkot and Belagavi districts have high number of HIV cases. It is understood that 25% death of HIV patients is due to TB. Hence, the death rates are
high.”

He said that the department has taken measures to ensure early identification of the cases. “In the ART centres, all people living with HIV are screened for TB. Even if they have a cough, their sputum examination is done. All HIV patients are given INH tablets for six months as a precaution,” he said.

With diabetes being the other comorbidity, he said that patients visiting non-communicable disease centres in the district and taluk hospitals with any symptoms are screened for TB.

According to the report, 10.3% were HIV patients among those tested for the survey and 70% of patients with TB have a known HIV
status. Speaking about the correlation, Dr George D Souza, head, Chest Department, St John’s Hospital, said, “First, they are immunodeficient and are likely to get it. More so, they are likely to have a higher severity. The prevalence of drug-resistant TB among HIV infected is higher. The dropout rate from treatment is also higher among them. TB further suppresses immunity making them
vulnerable to other infections.”

Treatment

Compared to private hospitals, Karnataka’s government hospitals have a higher success rate of treatment.

In the public sector, it is 80% while private sector records a mere 40%.

“In the public sector, we have staff in the field. The follow-up is much better. Once detected, health staff go to the patients every month and ensure they are taking tablets. Nutritional support is also provided.

“Even if it is mandatory for private hospitals to notify cases, not all follow. This year, the reporting has improved,” Dr Seenappa said.

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