Why is Tuberculosis(TB) prevalent in India?

Tuberculosis is a killer disease and India has around one-third of patients (approx. 3 million patients) the world over.

The types of Tuberculosis observed in India are:

Active TB    

Active TB is a disease in which the TB bacteria is rapidly occupying different organs of the body. The typical symptoms of active TB are a cough, chest pain, weakness, weight loss, fever and sweating at night. Moreover, a person diagnosed with active TB may spread TB to others by transmission of infectious particles coughed into the air.

Latent TB

People infected with TB do not develop any symptoms. Moreover, the chest X-ray of these people appears to be normal. The appearance of Latent TB can be the reaction to the tuberculin skin test (TST) or interferograms release assay (IGRA). There is a constant risk that Latent TB can escalate to Active TB. This risk is increased by other diseases such as HIV or medications that compromise the immune system.

Reasons why TB is prevalent in India?

India is the country with the maximum burden of Tuberculosis. It is estimated that 40% of the Indian population is diseased with Tuberculosis bacteria. Every year, almost 220,000 deaths are reported due to TB.

Tuberculosis is the biggest health problem in India.

In India, 20 deaths occur every 1 hour due to TB. Major challenges in India to control TB outbreaks are,

  1. Poor Primary Healthcare in rural areas across the country
  2. Unregulated Private Health Care leading to common unreasonable use of first line and second line anti-TB drugs
  3. Spreading HIV infection
  4. Overcrowding or Congestion in public areas
  5. High prevalence of tobacco smoking
  6. Diabetes due to uncontrolled exposure to fats and poor sugars
  7. Poverty that results in latent access to medical treatment and exposure to poor quality drugs

World TB Day is observed on 24th March every year to promote awareness about the burden of TB worldwide and the status of TB prevention and care efforts.