Maharashtra Records 25 New TB Cases Every Hour: Report

Maharashtra Records 25 New TB Cases Every Hour: Report

Maharashtra ranks second in India with 2,10,000 TB cases reported from Jan to Dec 19 this year, with UP on top with 5,51,372 cases.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Sunday, December 24, 2023, 12:34 AM IST
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Mumbai: Nearly 25 people are diagnosed with tuberculosis every hour in Maharashtra, according to data submitted in the Lok Sabha.

The state ranks second in India with 2,10,000 TB cases reported from January to December 19 this year, with Uttar Pradesh on top (5,51,372 cases).

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare wants to eliminate TB by 2025, but considering the number of cases being reported, that target will be hard to achieve, according to experts.

Officials attribute the high number of cases to several factors, including unavailability of TB medicines, late diagnosis, malnourishment, drug addiction, etc.

TB testing is paramount: Doctors

Dr Sunita Golhait, joint director of health services at the state health department, said the authorities are focusing on TB testing to identify hidden cases and on early diagnosis. The department has roped in private doctors to notify suspected TB patients.

“We are taking all measures to control rising TB cases. Awareness has increased; testing also. We have installed advanced TB testing facility in tribal belts. Notifying TB patients is important. Private practitioners, chemists and citizens have been roped to inform health officers about suspected patients,” Dr Golhait said.

Officials who are part of the TB elimination programme said that on an average two lakh cases are reported in Maharashtra every year, most from metro cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Nagpur.

Tuberculosis is contagious, doctors warn

“Overcrowding is the biggest problem in metro cities as six to seven people live in small houses. If one person gets TB infection then the risk of it spreading increases. Moreover, malnourished people have a higher risk of contracting TB. Addiction also invites the disease,” an official said.

Dr Sanjeev Kamble, former director of the public health department and former head of the TB control programme, said the goal of a TB-free state or country by 2025 does not seem feasible.

“The government needs to make short-term and then long-term strategies. In between, medicines for MDR were not available. If you want to reach your goal then these tests, medicines, follow up and counselling are very important,” he said.

An official from the health department, on condition of anonymity, said that on average more than 50,000 TB patients are recorded at BMC-, state- and private-run hospitals across Mumbai. Moreover, there was a huge shortage of MDR TB drug.

“Considering the statistics Mumbai might not be TB free by 2025. But efforts that have been made in the past few years will yield positive results,” he said.

Registered TB cases:

Uttar Pradesh

2021: 4,53,712

2022: 5,22,850

2023: 5,51,372

Maharashtra

2021: 1,99,976

2022: 2,34,105

2023: 2,10,000

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