HYDERABAD: The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) with resistance to drugs is growing among infants in Hyderabad. About six per cent of infants studied were diagnosed with TB. City doctors say this is a serious health issue, as children below two years of age are hit by drug resistant strains of TB .
A pan-India study by a team of researchers from various hospitals and scientific institutions revealed that 5.8 per cent of infants examined, were suffering from tuberculosis. Interestingly, the majority (93.9 per cent) of patient specimens were not saliva. Generally, sputum is tested to arrive at TB infection. Researchers also found that TB positivity was higher amongst non-sputum specimens, indicating that the overall incidence of TB among adults is higher than what is projected now.
Hyderabad infants hit by drug-resistant TB
Dr S Mallikarjun Rao, senior consultant pulmonologist and chest specialist, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderguda, told TOI drug resistant TB is rising at an alarming rate. “TB is of two types. Both forms are extremely dangerous. Patients need strict isolation and treatment for prolonged periods,” he warns.
Researchers from the Intermediate Reference Laboratory, Hyderabad, were part of the multi-centre research. Stating that TB in infants is challenging due to non-specific clinical presentations of the disease in this age-group, and low sensitivity of TB diagnostic tools, researchers said they went for testing of non-sputum specimens via a method called Xpert testing. The study was published in the Journal PLoS One.
As part of the study, 7,994 presumptive infant TB cases were studied as part of the research. Of them, 465 cases or 5.8 per cent were positive. In a cause for concern, 5.6 per cent of the cases were found to be resistant to the drug rifampicin.