Totally drug-resistant TB strikes India

Indian public health authorities are concerned by the recent detection of 12 cases of a new strain of drug resistant tuberculosis.

The PD Hinduja Hospital in Mahim reported that it has diagnosed 12 patients, including a 13-year-old girl, with “Totally Drug-Resistant TB.” One of the patients has since died, according to

The strain is being called the latest mutation of the TB bacilli after Multi-Drug-Resistant TB and Extremely Drug-Resistant TB.

No known combination of TB drugs appears to have been successful in limiting the infection. All 12 patients have shown resistance to different drug therapies, according to

"The TB bacilli have obviously mutated. The emergence of TDR-TB has grave implications for public health," Hinduja Hospital's Dr. Zarir Udwadia said, reports.

Dr. Udwadia’s observations were recently published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Dr. PY Gaikwad, the joint director for TB at the state health department, cautioned that the Hinduja hospital’s findings were unreliable because their laboratory was not fully accredited to work with such cases.

Udwadia responded that Hinduja maintained a World Health Organization-certified laboratory.

“Most government centers send their sputum samples to Hinduja hospital’s microbiology laboratory for drug sensitivity test because they don’t have this facility,” Udwadia said, reports.

Dr. Amita Athawale, the head of the chest department at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai said that Totally Drug-Resistant TB is a reality in India.

"The cases we clinically isolate are just the tip of the iceberg," Athawale said, reports.