A Mumbai resident succumbed to multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Amravati last week. The patient was the first MDR-TB case to be detected through the recently installed Gene Xpert, a diagnostic tool that detects MDR-TB in less than two hours.
The Mumbai resident, whose identity is yet to be established, was detected with MDR-TB on May 28 and died on May 30 at the civic hospital. “The patient was here to visit relatives and was admitted for serious cough. So we decided to test him through Gene Xpert. However, he succumbed before we could start the treatment,” said Dr Shyam Sohni, Amravati city TB officer.
“We need to identify relatives of this patient in Mumbai and test them for the infection too,” said Narendra Sutar, TB officer of G-North ward. Two months after the device was first installed in Dharavi, Amravati became the second site in Maharashtra to get the Gene Xpert on May 23.
In Mumbai, of the 791 people screened through Gene Xpert in the past two months, 64 have been detected with MDR-TB and 113 with primary TB.
Experts said Mumbai has the maximum concentration of MDR-TB patients with regard to diagnosis using the Gene Xpert, which is installed at eight other sites in India. MDR-TB is resistant to at least two of the best anti-TB drugs. “We have to ensure the patients with primary TB complete their treatment and don’t become drug resistant,” said Sutar.
The Gene Xpert test — called Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing — tests presence of TB bacteria and resistance to the drug rifampicin. The test has World Health Organisation approval and recommendation. Experts say the device can lead to three times more detection in drug-resistant TB. Other tests take a minimum of three days to confirm TB.