What is TB?
- Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is an ancient disease and has been documented to have existed in Egypt as early as 3000 BC.
- TB most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other organs (extra-pulmonary TB).
- TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- Common symptoms of TB are:
- Cough for three weeks or more, sometimes with blood-streaked sputum; Fever, especially at night; Weight loss and Loss of appetite.
Who is at risk?
- Over 95% of cases and deaths are in developing countries.
- People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–10% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB. Those with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a higher risk of falling ill.
- However, TB is curable and preventable.
Treatment for TB
- Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) is the strategy followed for treatment of TB. Tuberculosis treatment requires at least 6 months of treatment.
- Currently, BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) is the only licensed vaccine available for the prevention of TB.
- BCG works well in certain places but not so well in others. Generally, the farther a country is from the equator, the higher is the efficacy.
- However, BCG gives excellent protection against severe forms of tuberculosis in children.
What is Multidrug-resistant TB?
- Anti-TB medicines have been used for decades and strains that are resistant to one or more of the medicines have been documented in every country surveyed. Drug resistance emerges when anti-TB medicines are used inappropriately, through incorrect prescription by health care providers, poor quality drugs, and patients stopping treatment prematurely.
- Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to isoniazid and rifampicin, the 2 most effective first-line anti-TB drugs.
- MDR-TB is treatable and curable by using second-line drugs. However, second-line treatment options are limited and require extensive chemotherapy (up to 2 years of treatment) with medicines that are expensive and toxic.
India and TB
- According to the WHO’s Global TB Report, 10 million people developed TB in 2019 with 1.4 million deaths. India accounts for 27% of these cases.
- BCG was first introduced in a limited scale in 1948 and became a part of the National TB Control Programme in 1962.
- National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) aims at eliminating TB by 2025 in India. It is crafted in line with other health sector strategies and global efforts, such as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) End TB Strategy.
- Nikshay Portal: Nikshay is a unified ICT system for TB patient management and care in India and allows both public and private sector health care providers to manage their patients.
- Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY): Under the Nikshay Poshan Yojana government provide financial help to TB Patients for their treatment. The government provides Rs 500/- per month financial incentive to TB patients for their treatment and food. Nikshay Poshan Yojana Money will be transferred directly to the patient’s bank account.
Why in News?
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family welfare organized a national conclave to disseminate the learnings of the 100-day Aashwasan Campaign.
- The Aashwasan Campaign started on 7th January this year for active case finding for TB in 174 tribal districts of India, under the ambit of the Tribal TB Initiative. Under the initiative, door-to-door screening for TB was undertaken covering 68,019 villages.
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