A 48-year-old doctor of the Sewri TB hospital, who has been receiving treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) for over a year, has tested positive for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).
According to doctors attending on their patient colleague, since he was not responding well to the treatment, sputum samples were sent for further investigation, which confirmed the XDR-TB strain.
XDR-TB, like MDR-TB, is caused by bacteria that are resistant to some of the most effective anti-TB drugs. TB is usually treated with first-line drugs like isoniazid and rifampin, but bacilli resistant to these drugs can lead to MDR-TB.
"He has been a TB patient for a long time, but he was not responding to treatment. Therefore, we sent the sputum for further investigation. He is under treatment and consulting a chest physician from KEM hospital," said Dr Ravi Nanavare, medical superintendent of Sewri TB hospital.
The disease has taken a heavy toll of doctors and other staff at the hospital over the past decade. Today, 46 staffers are being treated and 23 of them suffer the drug-resistant strain.
It has been suggested that the drug-resistant strains develop as a result of inadequate or erratic therapy and it is seen to be seriously undermining efforts to control the spread of the disease globally.
The 1,200-bed Sewri hospital has struggled to contain the disease among the staff and 38 employees have succumbed since 2005.
There are 1,015 employees, of which 44 are medical staff, 46 paramedical staff, 265 nurses, eight administrative employees and 652 Class 4 workers.
Over the past couple of years, the hospital has provided 'Sakas Ahaar', a protein supplement, to its employees at breakfast.