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Times of India
08 October 2009
By Umesh Isalkar
Pune, India

MDR TB cases
  • Nagpur Division 109
  • Akola Division 16
  • Suspected cases in both divisions 333
    (Source: State TB cell, Pune)
MDR TB suspected cases in Pune district
  • Pune rural 46
  • PMC 28
  • PCMC 20
    (Source: State TB Training and Demonstration Centre, Pune)
As many as 125 confirmed cases of multidrug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis have been identified in Nagpur and Akola divisions during the ongoing DOTS Plus project. Nagpur division accounts for 109 of these cases.

Experts fear that MDR tuberculosis and its deadlier cousin – extensively–drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR) – may soon pose a bigger threat than HIV/AIDS.

Maharashtra has around 1.47 lakh suspected TB patients, of which 35,065 are confirmed cases identified under the DOTS (directly observed treatment, short course) programme, said Ashok Ladda, state tuberculosis officer. Pune district has 94 suspected MDR TB patients. At least 3.7 lakh people die of TB in the country every year. Under the DOTS Plus project, implemented in the Nagpur and Akola divisions in April last year, MDR TB patients are treated free of cost for two years. TB can become drug–resistant if a patient is not treated long enough, doesn’t take prescribed medications or doesn’t receive the right drugs.

City TB officer Dilip Jagtap said MDR TB cases constitute 2% or 3% of the total TB cases. Around 4,000 people are diagnosed with TB every year in the city and 85 per cent of these patients get cured. Of the remaining, deaths constitute less than 5 per cent, defaulters (those who discontinue treatment) less than 4 per cent, relapses more than 3 per cent and failures (MDR cases) up to 3 per cent.

MDR TB patients are put on category II drugs for eight months. “If they still do not respond to treatment, they are asked to undergo a culture sensitivity test. If they are found positive, they are put under the DOTS Plus programme, which is costly. The treatment of per patient may run into lakhs of rupees per year,” he said. The only accredited culture lab in the state is in Nagpur. However, Pune will soon have a culture lab at the Aundh civil hospital.

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