Article on Tuberculosis in The Statesman by Dr. Animesh Arya
Tuberculosis now ranks alongside HIV as the world’s most deadly infectious disease. In 2016, 10.4 million people around the world became sick with TB disease (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/statistics/default.htm).
India is among the most affected countries in the world when it comes to tuberculosis, comprising 25% of the global TB cases. Late detection and improper or incomplete treatment might case MDRTB, meningitis or CNSTB, chronic or suppurative lung disease etc. TB is curable with early diagnosis and proper treatment.
All new TB patients in India should receive an internationally accepted first line treatment regimen (a regimen is the prescribed course of treatment, in this case the TB drugs) for new patients.
The initial intensive phase of treatment should consist of eight weeks of the drugs Isoniazid (H), Rifampicin (R), Pyrazinamide (Z) and Ethambutol (E). The continuation phase should consist of the three drugs Isoniazid, Rifampicin and Ethambutol given for another sixteen weeks. Drug doses are based on body weight of the patient.
All patients should receive their TB drugs daily under direct observation (DOTS), in front of a DOTS agent. The DOTS agent is usually a volunteer from the patient’s community, and may be a family member. DOTS does not say which drugs should be taken.