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Increased TB awareness sought

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On TB Day: The District TB Centre in Thrissur.
On TB Day: The District TB Centre in Thrissur.

Staff Reporter

Thrissur: Mayor R. Bindu has called for increased awareness among the public about symptoms of tuberculosis and its treatment. She was addressing a meeting here on Monday on the occasion of World TB Day. The meeting called for more awareness about the treatment recommended by the United Nations — DOTS (Directly-Observed Treatment Short-Course).

The UN-recommended strategy includes ‘commitment to control of TB, regular and uninterrupted supply of high-quality anti-TB drugs, six to eight months of strictly supervised treatment and creation of systems

to monitor progress of treatment and programme performance.’ Delivering the keynote address, District Medical Officer Rajan Warrier said the essential element of the DOTS strategy was the strict adherence to treatment protocols.

District Panchayat president Ambadi Venu presided. Dinesh Prabhu of the Department of Chest Medicine, Government Medical College, Mulankunnathukavu, and V.K. Pravathy, president of the Thrissur branch of the Indian Medical Association, also spoke. Earlier, nursing students, members of Kudumashree and Accredited Social Health Activists took out a rally to create awareness about TB. Dr. Rajan Warrier said the number of TB cases was coming down in the district. The number of cases registered in 2006 was 1,127. In all, 935 patients (83 per cent) were cured. Forty-two patients died. The symptoms of TB include unexplained fever for more than three weeks, cough, breathlessness, blood-stained sputum, unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite. Mycobacteria, mainly Mycobacterium tuberculosis, cause the disease. TB attacks the lungs (as pulmonary TB). It can also affect the central nervous system, lymphatic system, circulatory system, genitourinary system, bones, joints and even the skin. Mycobacterium such as Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium africanum, Mycobacterium canetti and Mycobacterium microti can cause the disease, but these species do not usually infect healthy adults. Infection is transmitted at a rate of one per second across the world.

“All infected patients do not develop the full-blown disease. Latent TB infection is the most common. One in ten latent infections will progress to active TB disease. Left untreated, it can kill more than half of its victims,” said Dr. Warrier. On World TB Day, he observed, society should re-dedicate itself to containing the disease.

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