Kozhikode: Ringing alarm bells for the health department, multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases are on the rise in the district. MDR-TB is caused by bacteria that do not respond to the most powerful anti-TB drugs and if not treated properly on a strict regimen, death may occur besides leading to spread of the disease.
According to the data of the district TB centre, four more such cases were reported till April taking the total number of MDR-TB to 20. “MDR-TB is caused by the non-completion of treatment for normal TB. A six-month course of medicine is needed for TB and if patients discontinue midway, it paves the way for MDR-TB. Treatment stretching over two years is needed for MDR-TB,” says district TB Officer Dr P.P Pramod Kumar. He added that a person afflicted with TB may go abroad discontinuing the medicine course or he could stop the course midway after getting relief. Even the smear test may show negative for a patient who has taken the course for four months, thereby influencing a patient to stop the course.
According to Dr Pramod Kumar, MDR-TB spreads fast compared to normal TB.
However, normal TB cases are also soaring in the district with 100 more cases reported within four months. There were 1700 cases last year and now it has gone up to 1800. Authorities attribute this to the increased reporting of cases after the door-to-door visit has been introduced.
The rush of the TB patients is reflected at Calicut medical college (CMC) where the CB-NAAT machine is available to get the smear result within 2.5 hours. “We can only test eight to 12 serums maximum a day. Due to the rush, the result is getting delayed now,” says Dr Aishwarya P Kumar, Assistant Professor at department of microbiology, CMC.