A Zarathushti physician, Dr. Zarir Udwadia is one of the Indian doctors who has reported a new drug-resistant strain of Tuberculosis in India. Following is an extract from a news report in USA Today (I first saw it in India West also).
“Indian doctors have reported the country’s first cases of “totally drug-resistant tuberculosis,” a long-feared and virtually untreatable form of the killer lung disease………….
In India, doctors in Mumbai have reported a total of 12 patients who failed initial treatment and also didn’t respond to the medicines tried next over an average of two to three years. Three have died. None of the others have been successfully treated.
The doctors detailed the first four cases in a letter to a U.S. medical journal last month, blaming private doctors for prescribing inappropriate drug plans that sparked greater resistance in three of those four patients.
“These three patients had received erratic, unsupervised second-line drugs, added individually and often in incorrect doses, from multiple private practitioners,” wrote the doctors from P.D. Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Center in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
One of the doctors, Zarir Udwadia, in a phone interview, said there is little hope for the surviving nine patients, all poor slum dwellers living in the community. He said he has detected one case of a mother passing the strain to a daughter living in close quarters. One of the patients was also infected with HIV, which typically results in faster death.
Udwadia criticized the testing and treatment methods of the Indian government’s TB program, which he says forces patients to turn to private doctors, many of whom do not understand how to properly treat TB or the risks of increasing drug resistance by prescribing the wrong drugs.
“It was a given that this would happen,” Udwadia said. “They have had no help from the Indian TB system. They are the untouchables, so no one is making a fuss. They don’t have the power to vocalize. There’s going to be more family contacts. It’s going to spread for sure.”
India’s Health Ministry did not respond to phone calls and written requests for comment Monday and last week……………………”