TB among children can now be diagnosed in two hours
New Delhi: It may prove to be a major shot in the arms of Health Ministry as the pilot project started to diagnose tuberculosis among the children of the age group up to 2 years has turned out to be a great success. With the help of the new technique, detection of TB among children can now be done in just two-hour, which was earlier not possible.
According to senior officials, the breakthrough in the detection of TB among
kids would help in achieving the target of tuberculosis by 2025, which has been given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Given that non-availability of diagnostic kits for children in India has been a major roadblock in TB eradication programme, the new mechanism to diagnose TB among children using Xpert technique would definitely help a lot total TB elimination mission," a senior official said.
The pilot project to examine TB in children using Xpert MTB/RIF technique was jointly initiated by Central TB Division of Health Ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and it was executed by a non-governmental organization FIND.
According to the findings of the organisation, which was tasked to examine TB cases in the cities of Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata, out of total 7,994 children examined using Xpert MTB/RIF technique, 465 kids were tested positive.
Explaining about the problems being faced in the detection of TB among children, the official said, "The microbiological test of mucus is the main testing method of TB and the quantity of sputum of infants is not enough to detect the diseases using normal test."
"It's next to 'impossible' for doctors to identify symptoms of TB in children in comparison to adults as children usually suffer from cold and cough, which cannot be the cause of tuberculosis. There are multiple causes of cold and weight loss among infants and it may not be used as ground to establish TB," the official said, adding that the culture test is the only way in which TB can be detected in children, but its time taking as reporting time of its findings take at least 6 months.
"As per the normal practice, doctors come to the conclusion about a child suffering from TB or not just on the basis of general symptoms by co-correlating the findings of X-ray and tuberculin skin test, which is quite unscientific," the official said.
Explaining about a special feature of the test, the official said, "It also examines the resistance of Rifampicin medicine, which is commonly used to treat TB." It has been
estimated that 15 to 20 per cent of all TB patients in the
country are children. Tuberculosis in children has also been increasingly recognised as an important component of the global tuberculosis burden in the country.