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'One-third world population believed to be infected with TB'

HT Correspondent  Amritsar, March 22, 2013
First Published: 18:47 IST(22/3/2013) | Last Updated: 18:49 IST(22/3/2013)

To mark the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24, Respicure Chest and ENT Centre organised an interactive session with patients suffering from chest and other conditions related to tuberculosis on Friday.

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In the inaugural address, Dr Ravneet Singh Grover, chest specialist and director of the centre, quoted alarming figures on TB infection. "According to a global study, one-third of the world population is believed to have been infected with TB and new infections occur at the rate of about one case per second. In 2010, there were an estimated 88 lakh new cases of TB and 14.5 lakh deaths, mostly in developing countries," he said.
 
However, infections stay latent and one in 10 develops into active disease. The neglect of TB-control programmes and emergence of drug-resistant strains have contributed to prevalence of TB, he added. The World TB Day Campaign 2012-14 has adopted the slogan of 'Stop TB in my lifetime'.

Speaking about the disease, Dr PS Grover, chest specialist, explained that it attacks lungs, also affects other parts of the body and can be lethal. "For several people, it will be surprising to know that there is TB of eyes too. It spreads through the air when people, who have an active M-TB infection, cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit their saliva through the air. Most infections in humans remain hidden, but those which progress to become an active disease if left untreated kill more than 50% of infected people," he said.

The expert said India tops in having maximum number of TB cases annually than any other country and is ranked first among the 22 high-burden TB countries worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation's Global TB Report-2009. "TB remains one of the leading infectious causes of mortality in India. In 2007, nearly 3.31 lakh deaths occurred due to TB. In the same year, approximately 19.6 lakh new TB cases were reported in the country," they added.

During the interaction, ENT specialist Dr Ruchika spoke about preventive measures for TB like good ventilation since closed rooms enable spread of germs. She suggested covering the mouth, using a mask and house stay for a TB patient. The disease, she added, has close links with overcrowding, malnutrition and poor living conditions.

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