The city currently has a total of 24 patients having the Xtra Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis — four times the number that existed at this point of time last year. The presence of patients with this type of tuberculosis was first known in January 2011 at Hinduja hospital in Mahim which had 12 patients.
Of these 12 patients, six died during the course of last year while 18 other cases have subsequently come to light, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
Patients who have the Xtra Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis do not respond to the available treatment for tuberculosis. After the news broke out last year, the World Health Organisation, and officials from the municipality, and state and central governments had swing into action to formulate measures to deal with the rising form of the disease.
The civic body’s tuberculosis officer, Dr Mini Khetrapal, said, “We presently have 24 XXDR Tb patients which includes patients from Hinduja hospital. They have been enrolled with us for the Revised National Tuberculosis Programme and are doing well.”
Dr Khetrapal said that the patients were resistant to more than two drugs, but on an individual basis, they are sensitive to a few of them.
Soon after the news of drug-resistant tuberculosis had broken, the Centre had made the disease a ‘notifiable’ one. This means that any private hospital or clinic treating such patients is bound to report it to the government authorities.
The civic body also plans to buy another Gene Xpert, a device that detects drug-resistant tuberculosis in less than two hours for Govandi slum where people are more susceptible to the disease. “We had got a Gene Xpert device at the urban health centre of Sion hospital as part of a pilot project. Seeing the success, we decided to get another one for Govandi,” said Dr Khetrapal.