Updated: January 26, 2022 7:32:58 am
As many as 10.89 lakh persons with influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) were screened for tuberculosis last year of which state health authorities were able to diagnose 7,365 new TB cases. Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Ahmednagar and Sangli reported the highest number of TB cases that were diagnosed from among this group with ILI/SARI.
From January till December 2021, more than 60,000 TB patients were tested for Covid. State TB department data also showed that as part of the bi-directional TB-Covid screening, around 1,205 persons were diagnosed with the twin co-infection of TB and Covid-19 last year.
Tuberculosis and Covid-19 are both infectious diseases that primarily attack the lungs. They present themselves with similar symptoms — of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing. Although, TB has a longer incubation period and a slower onset of disease.
From January till December last year, around 1.2 lakh persons with ILI/SARI were screened in Mumbai of which 761 were detected with TB while in Pune Municipal Corporation area, at least 85,048 persons with ILI and SARI were screened for TB. “We were able to detect 402 patients with TB,” Dr R S Adkekar, state TB officer, told The Indian Express.
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In Pimpri-Chinchwad, of the 4,309 persons with ILI/SARI screened, authorities were able to diagnose 1,232 TB cases. Ahmednagar also showed a large number of newly diagnosed TB cases from among persons with ILI/SARI. Of the 62,442 ILI/SARI cases, a total of 768 persons with TB were diagnosed. In Sangli, of the 91,455 persons with ILI/SARI, a total of 335 were diagnosed with TB.
TB notifications (process of reporting diagnosed TB cases to relevant health authorities who, in turn, report them to the World Health Organisation through national TB programmes) have picked up in 2021 in Maharashtra. From January to December last year, nearly two lakh new cases of TB were identified as against 1.59 lakh in 2020. Meanwhile, 5,668 patients with TB died during the same time period.
Recently, the Union health ministry advised Covid-19 patients to undergo tests for TB if cough persists for more than two to three weeks.
In Maharashtra, Dr R S Adkekar, state TB officer, said that the authorities were planning to step up efforts to diagnose more TB cases. Active case-finding efforts are underway in vulnerable populations while an intensified search will be taken up in industrial areas, jail and chest and non-communicable diseases OPD. A block-wise performance review is also being taken up apart from stepping up coordination with medical and paediatric associations. Dr Sanjay Gaikwad, chairman of the zonal task force for TB prevention and control, West Zone (Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan, Goa and Gujarat), said that the focus remains on TB-free India. “Agencies have worked together during the Covid pandemic and this effort should be replicated so that we can meet the target of eliminating TB by 2025,” Dr Gaikwad said.
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