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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Silent Disease

By Our Editor

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease which usually affects the lungs but it can also affect other parts of the body such as brain, kidneys and spine. TB is rare in more developed countries but is still common in less developed nations, chief factors being poverty and overcrowding. As standards of living rise so incidence of tuberculosis falls. People living in poor countries are susceptible to the disease because of unhygienic surroundings and malnutrition. General symptoms are feeling uneasy and weakness, loss of appetite, loss of weight, fever and night sweats. Lung symptoms are persistent cough producing yellowish spit, blood-stained sputum, chest pain, and breathlessness. Among young people there may be fever, swelling of lymph glands in the neck or painful red lumps on the shins. If such symptoms occur people should not be complacent and delay in seeking treatment otherwise it may become more severe and take longer time to be cured. TB treatment is available free of cost at all government and identified private and NGO health facilities called treatment centres. People can avail toll-free number 1800-11-6666 for further counseling and support. TB is completely curable if prescribed drugs are taken regularly for full duration. Under Nikshay Poshan Yojana, Government of India provides Rs. 500 each month for entire duration which may extend up to 6-9 months to TB patients.

Spread of TB is when a person with lung TB disease talks, coughs and sneezes releasing TB bacteria in the air. However, disease does not spread through handshake, use of public toilets, sharing food and utensils, blood transfusion and casual contact. Patients can continue their normal lives during treatment. But it is advisable that they should wear mask or cover their mouth with handkerchiefs while coughing and sneezing. Nutritionally rich and balanced diet consisting of cereals, millets and pulses supplemented with vegetables and fruits are very helpful. Milk and milk products and eggs nourish the body. Family members must extend full support to TB patients and encourage them to complete their treatment and take nutritious diet. Avoid ostracising them and do not spread false information either because these actions are very harmful. They are to take note of progress made and encourage them to persevere till they are completely cured. If, however, any side effects like nausea, vomiting, itching, gastritis, etc. due to drugs occur it is urgently required to contact the doctor and not stop the treatment.

National TB Prevalence Survey, 2019-2021, to estimate prevalence of TB in the country and to explore probable treatment was made with support from Indian Council of Medical Research, Central TB Division of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), and World Health Organization (WHO). Prevalence of all forms of TB in India was 312 per lakh of population, the highest being in New Delhi with 747 per lakh of population and the lowest being in Gujarat with 137 per lakh of population. In North Eastern states survey revealed prevalence of 274 per lakh of population.

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