UK government acts to curb rise in tuberculosisBMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7471.877-a (Published 14 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:877
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The article by Rebecca Coombes about UK government to curb rise in tuberculosis is a welcome sign and an effort by UK government to appreciate the menace of tuberculosis which had ceased to be a major health problem in western world a few decades back. Tuberculosis , however, has been a major problem in developing world.
About one third of the world's population is infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. World wide in 1995, there were about nine million cases of tuberculosis with three million deaths. Mycobacterium tuberculosis kills more people than any other single infecting agent(1). But due to drastic reduction in number of tuberculosis cases in the western world, there was very little research in tuberculosis in last few decades with very few new drugs being introduced for tuberculosis as even the pharmaceutical companies were not much interested in developing new antituberculous drugs as there was not much money in it. But with the advent of human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV )infection throughout the world and rising number of concomitant tuberculosis and HIV cases,more and more migration of population from developing countries with high prevalence of tuberculosis to developed world, emergence of multi drug resistant ( MDR ) tuberculosis, the disease is coming back with new vengeance and no country is immune. Directly observed treatment-short course ( DOTS ) strategy recommended by WHO for National Tuberculosis Control Programmes ( NTCPs ) has been evidently successful over last one decade globally (2-4). Since 1992, WHO Global Tuberculosis Prevention has developed a new strategy to meet the needs of global tuberculosis by DOTS. Large number of medical colleges are using DOTS in India under NTCP to resolve the problem of the disease and to strengthen the information , education and treatment of tuberculosis control (4). It is high time for all the medical fraternity from both developed and developing world to work hand in hand learning from experiences of one another and to rise upto the occasion to develop better diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for this malady and also the pharmaceutical companies to channelise their funds towards research to develop safer, cost effective and short duration anti-tuberculous drugs to improve compliance. It is the moral and sacred duty of all those working for the benefit of humanity to control this malady from going out of hand and incurable.
1. World Health Organisation. Treatment of tuberculosis. Guidelines for national programmes. WHO 1993.
2.Arora VK, Sarin R. Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme. Indian Perspective. Ind J Chest Dis Allied Sci 2000;42:21-26.
3.Iseman MD. Treatment of multidrug resistant tuberculosis. N Engl J Med 1993;329:782-9.
4. Bennett D, Watson J, Yates M, Jenkin T, Mac Guink S. The UK Mycobacterium Resistance Network, 1994.Tuberc Lung Dis 1994;75 (S2):99
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