25 March 2011
By Pushpa Narayan
14 Of The 250 People Screened For Tuberculosis In City Tested Positive; 47 Found With Bronchitis
The camp looked at the health of 500 people from the lower socio economic backgrounds in the slums of Old Washermenpet. Of the 500 people, 280 were suspected to have TB after preliminary clinical examination. The 280 then underwent sputum and chest X rays tests – used for confirming TB – and 14 tested positive.
Of the 500 people tested for TB, almost 10% or 47 were found to have bronchitis too. It is an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract caused mainly by pollution.
"In spite of having 100% effective treatment for the disease, India has the largest burden of TB in the world. And we have not succeeded in bringing down the number of cases," said Nalini Krishnan, director of REACH - Resource Group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health.
Chief respiratory physician at Apollo hospitals Dr Raj B Singh said it was a tragedy that a country like India was still struggling to control the spread of TB and detect new cases. "These figures are not entirely surprising and hopefully this will make the government improve the screening programmes for TB," he said.
The World Health Organisation recommendation that any person with a cough lasting more than 3 weeks should undergo a TB test was not being followed in India, he said. "Unfortunately a private public partnership will not help when it comes to battling TB. The government should lay more emphasis on community health programmes and preventing communicable diseases like TB," he said.
On finding large number of people with bronchitis, the dean of Madras Medical College, Dr V Kanagasabai said this could be because of the severe pollution in Old Washermenpet. "These numbers are high and bronchitis, if not treated at the right time, could lead to lung failure," he said.
Apart from this, six of the 280 were also found to have an enlarged heart or cardiomegaly, a condition where the heart muscle is thickened because of high blood pressure and increased workload on the heart.
On the occasion of World TB Day, health secretary VK Subburaj launched a TB awareness vehicle and a signature campaign. The vehicle with a slogan printed on it will tour the state to spread awareness about TB, the symptoms, diagnosis and DOTS treatment.
War on Germs
- Number of people who underwent clinical examination: 500
- Number of people who were screened for TB: 280
- Number of people diagnosed with TB: 14
- Number of people diagnosed with bronchitis: 47