An increasing number of Mumbaiites are being detected with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).
In the last six months, 44 people were diagnosed with the extreme form of tuberculosis, while last year only 32 such cases were detected. According to the World Health Organisation, XDR-TB is resistant to both first- and second-line anti-TB drugs and treatment options are limited.
The number of XDR-TB deaths has also increased. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) health department, nine XDRTB patients died in 2012, and 11 have died since January this year.
Health experts said that the menace of XDR-TB is causing a rise in number of healthy people contracting the drug-resistant form of TB.
Drug-resistant forms of TB — both multi drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and XDR-TB — are usually diagnosed when patients default during their TB treatment and start developing a resistance to anti-TB drugs.
But with a growing number of drug-resistant cases in the community, doctors fear a surge in healthy people developing drugresistant TB instead of drugsensitive TB. “A person suffering from drug-resistant TB will spread the drug resistant strain to other healthy individuals.
Mortality in MDR-TB is about 30% to 40% and higher in XDRTB cases,” said Dr Ashok Mahashur, chest physician at PD Hinduja Hospital, Mahim.
The BMC has written to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) for permission to provide tailormade XDR-TB drugs. “As far as TB and MDR-TB is concerned, the drugs under RNTCP are working.
But for XDR-TB cases, we have requested individualised treatment for patients,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.