As a boy catches the disease from his parent, it shows that TDR-TB is easily transmissible
By Malathy Iyer
To understand the ability of tuberculosis to create havoc in people’s lives, consider a side from the recent path-breaking study conducted by Hinduja Hospital in Mahim. One of the 12 patients identified with the incurable, totally drug resistant tuberculosis (TDR-TB) strain had reportedly contracted it from his parent.
This unknown family’s story is the face of India’s new TB chapter: the double whammy of expensive treatment and the sapping side-effects of drugs that have to be taken daily for 25 months on an average. Doctors are not forthcoming about the details of the case. “Families mean close contact. The probability of transmission is always high,’’ said a doctor who has met the patients.
The importance of the case lies in the fact that drug resistant TB — be it multi-drug resistant (MDR), extensively resistant (XDR) or the newfangled TDR — can be transmitted in their fiercest avatars. “Eight out of 10 Indians harbour TB bacilli. It depends on what they were exposed to. But if the host has a healthy immune system, TB’s worrisome strains will lie dormant,’’ explained a senior doctor associated with TB care.