Advertisement
Friday, Oct 29, 2021
Outlook.com

A Chill Up The Spine

TB rears its ugly head again, afflicting urban middle class youth

A Chill Up The Spine
R. Prasad
A Chill Up The Spine
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The Facts

  • One person dies of TB every minute in India and 5 lakh every year. This despite the fact that most forms of TB are curable.
  • Over 2.2 million people get infected with TB every year. The detection rate, according to the health ministry's figures, is just 66 per cent.
  • Each patient infected by lungs TB (pulmonary TB) infects 10-15 others in a year
  • Due to improper treatment and low detection rates, there are more than 60,000 cases of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB
  • Government allocation to fight TB has come down from 5.4% of the total health budget in 2000-01 to 1.6% in 2007-08
Myths Reality
  • Myth: TB infects only old, malnourished people living in unhygienic surroundings.
  • Reality: It infects all age groups. There is a resurgence of the disease, specially among the urban youth aged between 14 and 35.
  • Myth: It is a disease of the poor.
  • Reality: The rich are equally at risk, owing to unhealthy lifestyles, marked by crash diets, stress, and erratic sleeping and eating habits.
  • Myth: It is characterised by a racking cough and weight loss.
  • Reality: TB can exist even in the absence of so-called common symptoms. The infected could be outwardly completely healthy.
  • Myth: TB infects only the lungs and chest.
  • Reality: It can infect almost all body parts, including brain, spine, lymph nodes, glands, liver, skin, genitals and uterus.
  • Myth: TB is highly communicable, and largely incurable.
  • Reality: Only TB of the lungs is communicable. The stigma against the disease is unjustified as with proper treatment, all types of TB are completely curable.

***

When a former president was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the lungs while he was still in office, absolute disbelief is what he received the news with. How could he have contracted the 'poor man's disease', a malaise more at home in low-hygiene surroundings, he repeatedly kept asking his doctors. As if it wasn't enough, when his daughter had problems conceiving, and visited a clinic to have the cause of her infertility investigated, she too tested positive for TB of the uterus. So shocked was the then president that he refused to acknowledge the diagnosis and forbade any treatment for TB for his daughter. TB doesn't happen in the uterus, he kept telling himself. It's a disease of the lungs. Not wanting to contradict her father, the daughter went on to take treatment on the sly and is now a happy mother of two children.

Gout, they said, was the rich man's disease; the wretched of the earth had to contend with tuberculosis. Not any more. The scourge is now becoming an increasingly common phenomenon among the urban middle class—especially young people in the 14-35 age group. And it isn't just the lungs that the bacteria is lodging itself in, it's now nesting in the lymph nodes, glands, spine, brain, abdomen, liver, skin, groin, genitals and the uterus. Though no exact figures are available, doctors treating patients for the disease estimate that as many as one-third of them suffer from extra-pulmonary TB.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Exclusive | SC’s Pegasus Order Gives Tremendous Credibility To Investigative Journalism: Dushyant Dave

Exclusive | SC’s Pegasus Order Gives Tremendous Credibility To Investigative Journalism: Dushyant Dave

Senior Supreme Court lawyer and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Dushyant Dave spoke to Outlook about the SC order to set up an expert committee to look into the snooping scandal using Israeli firm NSO's spyware Pegasus.

Aryan Khan To Return Home Either 'Tomorrow Or Saturday', Says Mukul Rohatgi

Aryan Khan To Return Home Either 'Tomorrow Or Saturday', Says Mukul Rohatgi

Former Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, who represented Aryan Khan in the Bombay High Court has said that that Aryan Khan will walk out of jail after the detailed order is given by the HC on Friday afternoon.

IPL: Mumbai Indians Unlikely To Retain Hardik Pandya

IPL: Mumbai Indians Unlikely To Retain Hardik Pandya

With the IPL set to be a 10-team affair, there will be a big auction in December with a lot of teams restructuring their core, looking at the future.

J&K Administration Transfers Land To CRPF, Police In Kashmir

J&K Administration Transfers Land To CRPF, Police In Kashmir

The majority of the land in Kashmir has been allotted to CRPF in various south Kashmir districts, including picturesque Pahalgam tourist resort.

Advertisement