Hyderabad : Brain TB takes toll in Old City

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Hyderabad : Brain TB takes toll in Old City HYDERABAD: Superstition coupled with lack of awareness is taking a heavy toll on people’s health in Old City, particularly in slums, with a spurt in brain tuberculosis (TB). Four out of every 10 TB cases reported from south of the Musi river pertain to extrapulmonary TB, mostly of the brain. Tuberculosis generally attacks the lungs (pulmonary TB) while sometimes it infects other body parts (extrapulmonary TB). Incidences of extrapulmonary TB are high in Old City, majority of which are infection of the brain.

Asurvey of brain TB cases reported at different hospitals reveal that most of the victims had not taken anti-TB vaccine, BCG. Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), which conducted the survey, found that many families in Old City are reluctant to vaccinate children against TB and other deadly diseases. HHF has attributed this to illiteracy, superstitious beliefs and lack of awareness about vaccination.

Unlike lung TB, brain TB is not a contagious disease.. Though it is difficult to get the exact number of cases , field data collected by HHF volunteers shows about 300 new cases approach hospitals every month in Old City.

“Between 250 and 300 new cases of TB are reported every month from Old City. About 40% of them relate to brain TB. In slums, particularly, there has been spurt in incidence of pulmonary and extrapulmonary TB. ,” HHF managing trustee Mujtaba Hasan Askari told TOI.

The survey revealed that in all types of extrapulmonary TB, brain TB (tuberculosis meningitis) has the high incidence. “Young girls and boys between 15 and 20 years are falling victim. A large government tertiary hospital in the city has reported 15 confirmed cases of brain TB during March this year,” said Askari.

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