Fight against Tuberculosis in India

Tuberculosis, popularly termed as TB is a communicable disease that is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It primarily affects the lungs, but it can also affect organs in the central nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system. India is considered as the TB capital for recording an estimated 1.9 million new cases every year. However, only 70% of the affected person gets proper treatment under the DOTS program and most of the cases of TB remain undetected. In the year 2011, India listed the top among the maximum number of TB patients, which rose from 2 million to 2.5 million.

Causes of Tuberculosis in India

The bacteria that causes tuberculosis is generally spread through air and can attack any person. However, there are several other causes apart from it that causes tuberculosis.

  1. Mycobacterium bovis bacteria : This is bacteria is the major cause of tuberculosis infection and it spreads easily in the air.
  2. Unhealthy living environment : Unhealthy living environment also causes TB as it helps the bacteria to grow and spread fast. People who live in stuffy rooms, damp areas etc are at a high risk of being infected by the bacteria that causes TB.
  3. Malnutrition : People who suffer from malnutrition is at a high risk of being infected by TB as they do not get proper nutrition to fight with the bacteria of TB if it enters the body.
  4. Excessive consumption of Alcohol: Studies have shown that people who consume alcohol excessively is at the high risk of being infected by TB and most of the alcoholic person in the later stage suffers from tuberculosis.
  5. Weak immune system: Immune system of our body helps us to fight against several diseases as well as helps us resist from being affected by various viruses and bacteria but a person who has weak immune system gets easily infected by diseases due to lack of body resistance.
  6. Excessive smoking habits: People who are highly addicted to smoking suffer from tuberculosis in the later part of their lives. This is because their immune system gets weekend and cannot fight with the bacteria.
  7. Mental stress: Medical science has shown that people suffering from mental stress falls victim of the deadly disease of Tuberculosis. It seems quite strange but it is true and it is also a cause of TB.
  8. Contact with infected person : TB being a communicable disease, coming in contact with cough, sneeze, or spit of an infected person, infects the other person.

Battle Against Tuberculosis

The fight against Tuberculosis in India has started and has been taken seriously by the Government. However, it is unfortunate that it is still increasing and many people still die undetected. Tuberculosis is a fatal disease, which is if not treated at an early stage become fatal. It is capable of even affecting the brain and finally kills the person who is being infected by the TB bacteria due to lack of proper treatment and early detection.

India has made huge strides in fighting tuberculosis, reducing the number of deaths from the disease to 280,000 in 2010 from 500,000 in 1997, when the country began its current program to offer free testing and treatment to all, according to the government’s 2011 annual report of the Revised National TB Control Program. About 1.5 million of the 2 million tuberculosis patients in India are currently being treated under this program, according to the report.

Government has initiated DOTS program in India, which is available in every Government hospital at a very minimal cost. The treatment of TB was earlier quite costly but this initiative by the Government has made it affordable for all. However, many remain untreated due to lack of awareness. Government should run campaigns to make people aware of the causes, symptoms and consequences of TB. Moreover, Government of India  should improve the living condition of people of economically backward classes and also initiate programs to eradicate the issue of malnutrition in order to reduce the increasing risk of tuberculosis. Let us all help our nation to fight against the deadly disease of Tuberculosis.

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