In what will be a significant move to reduce new tuberculosis (TB) infections, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon start vaccine trial against the infection as part of a national vaccination trial, and launch a pilot project providing preventive treatment to close contacts, mostly family, of TB patients.
An action plan for 2019-2025 was released by the Mumbai mayor Wednesday. Among the new initiatives planned, the civic body is tying up with Hinduja hospital to conduct free out patient services for TB patients. At least 200 to 250 patients are expected to benefit by free consultation from chest physicians in the private hospitals. TB treatment and control took a major leap in India with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing in 2018 that the infectious disease will be controlled by 2025.
“We plan to trace close family members of TB patients. These are at highest risk of infection. The pilot project will include two to three regimen that latent TB population will be administered based on national guidelines,” said Dr Daksha Shah, in-charge of TB control programme in Mumbai.
A latent TB population is infected by the TB bacteria but the bacteria remains inactive, usually until the person’s immunity goes down. Shah estimates at least 40 to 50 per cent population in Mumbai is latent TB.
In 2018, 46,513 TB patients were put on treatment by the BMC. At least 4,969 are multi-drug resistant and 526 are extensively drug resistant patients. The BMC has also begun random screening to detect new TB cases. In 2018, of 16.4 lakh people screened, 232 were diagnosed with the TB bacteria and put on treatment.
With active screening, the case notification of Mumbai has improved from 269 per lakh to 395 per lakh between 2013 to 2018. Meanwhile, Mumbai has also been short-listed for the anti-tuberculosis vaccine’s third phase trial along with Delhi, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. “We are aiming to include close family members of existing TB patients for the trial,” said BMC’s executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar.