A recent study conducted at BJ Wadia Hospital for Children at Parel has revealed that 34 of the 500 child tuberculosis (TB) patients treated at the hospital between 2007 and 2010 were detected with drug- resistant TB, out of which 14 were diagnosed with multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
MDR-TB occurs when TB is resistant to at least two of the best anti-TB drugs prescribed in the first line of treatment. The findings were presented at the World Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases conference in Australia last November.
Doctors analysed the data of the 500 TB children between the age group of six months and 15 years. "Non-compliance or improper treatment and increased multi drug resistance in adults are the reasons for the increase in the number of children with MDR. If not treated properly, such patients develop extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB)," said Dr Ira Shah, incharge of paediatric HIV and TB clinic at Wadia Hospital who headed the study. At present, Dr Shah is treating at least 60 drug-resistant cases.
Doctors say the incidence of children infected with MDR-TB has been on the rise since 3-4 years. At the paediatric department of KEM Hospital at Parel, one of the three children who approached the hospital two years ago and treated with the second line of treatment was confirmed with MDR-TB. The child has now recovered with regular medication in the second line of treatment.
"In the last five years, there has been at least 25-30% increase in the number of patients not responding to first line treatment and some of them probably have MDR-TB," said Dr Mukesh Agrawal, head, paediatric department, KEM Hospital. "There are children from well-off families contracting TB."
"MDR-TB is a difficult-to-cure disease due to the need for a long term treatment," said Dr Mamta Manglani, head, paediatric department, Sion Hospital. "Treating and curing existing adult MDR-TB cases is important to prevent the spread of the disease."