Updated: June 29, 2020 10:26:59 pm
Chandigarh and its neighbouring states – Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh – recorded more TB cases per lakh population in their respective jurisdictions than the national average of 177 in 2019, the India TB Report 2020 released by the Centre last week has revealed. Further, the Union Territory of Chandigarh had 606 persons notified for TB for every one lakh persons in 2019 – the highest notification rate in the country.
The notification rate is the number of active TB cases notified per lakh population. India, in 2019, had a notification rate of 177.
About Chandigarh’s notification rate of 606 last year, with a total 7,026 notifications, the report said that the rate in the UT was high largely because it “provides diagnostic care for populations beyond its boundaries”.
However, even after accounting for patient movement post diagnosis, the notification rate in the UT comes to 307 per lakh people – which is still higher than the national rate.
Haryana, HP & Punjab
With nearly 74,000 notifications, Haryana reported a notification rate of 255, while it was 235 in Himachal Pradesh with approximately 17,500 notifications, the report said.
Punjab recorded a notification rate of 196, with more than 58,000 notifications in 2019.
The total TB notifications in the country were 24.05 lakh patients, including 6.7 lakh patients notified by the private sector. More than 79,000 people died of the disease across the country in 2018, the report added.
According to the World Health Organisation, TB is one of the top 10 causes of deaths worldwide, and the leading cause from a single
infectious agent. Around 1.5 million people died from TB in 2018, and India remains the country with the largest burden of the disease.
Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, while India has taken an ambitious
decision to end the disease by 2025.
‘One-fourth of humanity infected’
TB has affected humans for thousands of years, but its cause remained unknown until 1882, when Dr Robert Koch announced the discovery of TB bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), the bacteria which causes the disease. The disease is spread through the air when TB patients expel bacteria, for example by coughing, sneezing or spitting. It typically affects the lungs but can also affect other sites. The mortality rate of TB is high in the absence of treatment, but a timely treatment with first-line antibiotics for 6 months can cure most patients.
According to the WHO, “around one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease. Infected people have a 5 to 15 percent lifetime risk of falling ill with TB”.
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