Report calls for XDR-TB policy in India

A recent report in the Indian Journal of Medical Research calls for a change to policy in regards to extremely drug resistant tuberculosis.

The article, written by researchers at Christian Medical College, shows that between 1997 and 2008, 10 tertiary care centers reported approximately 600 XDR-TB cases in nine cities. TB is a bacterial disease that can be treated with antibiotics. Multi-drug resistant TB occurs when the bacteria develop drug resistance. TB can become even more resistant to medication, resulting in XDR-TB or totally drug resistant TB, the Indian Express reports.

The researchers said that the fatality rate of XDR-TB cases is high and that there is no protocol, registry or surveillance mechanism for XDR-TB. The article said that when the organism spreads to new hosts, it continues to remain drug resistant.

"There is an urgent need to prevent secondary transmission," the report said, according to the Indian Express.

The article said that the Indian government must create a national policy, guidelines and innovative designs in regards to TB.

Z Udwadia, a consultant physician in Mumbai, reported about TDR-TB before the Union Health Ministry and the World Health Organization. He said that TB drugs like Quinolone are used improperly by Indian physicians, further complicating the drug resistance problem.

"No other country throws around second line drugs in such a cavalier fashion as India," Udwadia said, according to the Indian Express. "In India, Quinolone is thrown around like water. The current data is just the tip of the iceberg as we don't have more than a handful of labs."