Pune Patients not taking their cough seriously as well as late diagnosis are the major reasons for the spread of tuberculosis, according to city based doctors. Considering the lack of awareness, doctors have called for the initiation of focused programmes to address the spread of the disease and ensure timely diagnosis and treatment. As per the data available with Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), within less than three months, a total of 541 cases of tuberculosis have been registered with the PMC this year. Expanding on the alarming rate of transmission of the disease, Dr SN Gaikwad, associate professor of pulmonary medicine at B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital said, It should be understood that tuberculosis is an air borne disease. A person with tuberculosis can transmit it to others when they cough, sneeze or even laugh. Hence covering one’s mouth while coughing or sneezing is an essential practice that needs to be spread. Dr Gaikwad added that India has one of the highest numbers of registered tuberculosis cases. The focus, therefore,should be on prevention and controlling transmission, something the nation has failed to do effectively. It has been observed that coughing is taken very lightly by people. One negligent patient can result in many others contracting the disease. To address this, there is need for specific programmes with emphasis on identifying more tuberculosis patients, increasing early diagnosis and creating more awareness, said Dr Gaikwad. Dr Gaikwad stated that presently he has many cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis from within families due to late diagnosis. A deferred diagnosis allows the disease time to spread to others in the family. “We have been successful in preventing the spread of HIV. With concentrated efforts the spread of tuberculosis can also be reduced drastically,” he added. Dr Piyush Chaudhari from Jehangir hospital also shared similar and said, Coughing for ten to fifteen days and unexplained fever should never be taken lightly. One should always consult a doctor if any tuberculosis symptoms are present.”According to Chaudhari, the gravity of the situation in India has not been understood and more efforts are required to spread awareness about the disease, to make sure patients are diagnosed and treated early.“The present concerns about growing tuberculosis cases are compounded by late diagnosis, patients not being tested for multidrug-resistance, and people dropping out of treatment making them multidrug-resistant and much harder to cure, he added.