In a first, the BMC will screen the close contacts and relatives of tuberculosis patients with the help of Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) testing. This technique will help the civic body to detect latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) among households.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB, can live in the body without evidence of clinically evident active TB. This is called LTBI.
In most people, who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body can fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. But, if the person’s immunity gets low then there might be a chance of bacteria getting active.
Under the National Tuberculosis Eradication Program, the civic body took this initiative to prevent the TB spread to achieve the goal of a TBfree Mumbai.
Under this initiative, the sputum of the close contact or relatives of TB patients will be taken and this test will be done free of cost. The test report is usually available within 24 hours of the test.
“This advanced medical test will be done free of charge. This initiative, which is an important step in the prevention of tuberculosis, has been started recently,” said BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare.
However, if IGRA medical test report is positive for 'Latent Tuberculosis' then the person will be given TB preventive therapy (TBPT) once a week for a total of 12 weeks.
“We have arranged for conducting 50,000 IGRA tests which will be done free of cost for the contacts and also the drugs required for TBPT will be provided free of cost,” said another civic official, adding that they tied up with a private lab for end to end management.