Health Check: 25% of the World's Tuberculosis Patients in India

   |  Updated: March 23, 2017 11:48 IST

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Health Check: 25% of the World's Tuberculosis Patients in India
Highlights
  • Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the major health concerns in India
  • It is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • About 2.2 million people develop TB in India every year
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the major health concerns in India. It is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that can affect any of your vital organs but it commonly occurs in the lungs. People may be unknowingly carrying this bacteria till it remains inactive. Once it's active, early symptoms of the disease such as coughing, weight loss, fatigue, fever and night sweats start to appear. It has been estimated that about 2.2 million people develop TB in India every year. The major cause of TB has a lot to do with your lifestyle - the food you eat, how clean is the water you're drinking, the air you breathe and personal hygiene. Since a large number of people in the country do not even have access to the basics the incidence of the disease remains high. 

According to a latest study, conducted by the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) researchers, India bears the highest burden of tuberculosis globally and about 25% of the world's tuberculosis patients belong to India. Researchers have developed a new way to estimate the TB numbers in India with the help of previous data from nearby countries and understanding how TB is transmitted. 

The findings that have been published in The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease show major differences in the spread of TB in the urban and rural areas. While in urban areas TB affects more individuals per year, similar cases in the rural areas may remain infectious for a longer period of time perhaps due to the non-availability of medication and resources. Further, it has been found that an urban TB case will infect an average of 12 people per year and remains infectious for about one year, while a rural case will infect an average of four people per year, but remains infectious for more than two years.
 
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Researchers believe that it is important to assess the correct estimates of TB in India  to reduce the medical and economic burden of the disease and undertake necessary preventive measures. To implement appropriate policies and interventions, it is important to understand the current extent of the disease, as well as transmission dynamics,” said study co-author and CDDEP Director Ramanan Laxminarayan.

The report has been release ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day on 24th March 2017. The theme is same as last year - 'Unite to End TB'  that addresses the stigma, discrimination and marginalization associated with the disease and help people overcome barriers to access appropriate medical care.
 

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