Following the discovery of 4 cases of totally drug resistant tuberculosis (TDR-TB) in a Mumbai hospital 3 days ago, 2 confirmed cases with the deadly new strain of TB have been detected at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) in Bangalore. But the scarier scenario is this: one of them, a 56-year-old man, has gone missing, raising the threat perception many levels higher, considering that he could infect others with the deadly strain.

The revelation of 2 confirmed totally drug resistant-tuberculosis (TDR-TB) cases at RGICD has shaken the health ministry and officials who had instantly gone into a denial mode, even as they blame the RGICD for not bringing the cases to their notice. Dr Shashidhar Buggi, director, RGICD, said: “If they ask us, we will let them know. We are a national institute; if the state government asks us for the report, we will definitely give it to them.”

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TDR-TB is a strain of tuberculosis that cannot be treated by any available drug. This means that a person afflicted by this strain faces a 100 percent mortality rate and, until death, can infect many others.

Both the TDR-TB cases in Bangalore were confirmed after the RGICD sent their sputum (phlegm) samples to Chennai’s Intermediate Reference Laboratory, where the samples tested positive for the deadly TDR-TB strain. The other patient suffering from the TDR-TB is a 29-year-old woman.

There are two major issues for concern.

  1. One of the confirmed TDR-TB patients has gone missing AND
  2. State and National health department officials seem to remain in the dark.
This does not spell well for India and for the rest of the health of the world. So in the meantime practice good health and cough hygiene...cover your cough, wash your hands and don't touch your face!