There has been a slight drop in the number of patients dying of tuberculosis at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) over the last two years, data provided by the hospital states. The number of TB-related deaths has fallen from 119 in 2017 to 91 in 2018.
In 2015, 61 people died of tuberculosis at PGI, but the next year this number jumped to 74 and at 119, it breached the three figure mark in 2017, the highest ever at PGI.
Dr Digamber Behera, department of pulmonary medicine, told Newsline that most of the times, patients reach the institute when they are severely sick, thus making it difficult to save their lives. The data suggests a consistent rise in the number of TB cases at PGI. It received 612 patients of TB in 2015 followed by 650 in 206 and 833 in 2017. The number dipped to 763 last year.
Dr Behera attributed the rising number to increasing awareness. He said, ‘’Earlier in India we used to say a million cases are missing because they were not registered. But now we have data for every district, where TB centres conduct free diagnosis.’’
Talking about the causes, he said,’’ Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium causes TB. The chances of catching TB from your near ones are higher than from strangers. TB spreads through the air when the affected person whose lungs are infected coughs, sneezes, spits, laughs or talks. Overcrowding, malnutrition, poverty increase the risk of getting TB.’’
Wearing a mask at overcrowded places, avoiding sleeping in the same room as someone else, covering the mouth and ventilating rooms can limit the spread of bacteria. He added that people with compromised immune system are generally at a higher risk of developing tuberculosis.