Doctors treating these patients say the absolute resistance is a result of the patients being prescribed wrong antibiotics by unspecialised doctors. TB patients are treated with a combination of drugs — if the first course fails, a second-line treatment is prescribed.
“A TB patient comes in contact with at least 10 to 15 people on average, thus the strain is likely to spread,” said Dr Zarir F Udwadia, consultant physician at PD Hinduja Hospital, who coauthored a paper on TDR-TB that was published in the scientific journal Clinical Infectious Diseases Advance Access on December 21. The patients, including a 13-year-old girl, were diagnosed in October. Since then, a 31-year-old woman from Dharavi died in November.
Dr PY Gaikwad, joint director for tuberculosis at the state health department said that the hospital’s findings cannot be relied upon as its laboratory is not accredited to detect such cases. “Only the National Tuberculosis Institute, Bangalore, can identify such cases,” he said.
Hinduja is one of the few hospitals to have the WHO-approved drug susceptibility testing laboratory.