Alcohol tied to rise in TB cases: Study

Malnutrition and alcoholism are the key drivers of the Tuberculosis (TB) epidemic in Southern India, a research based on Puducherry and Tamil Nadu has revealed. The study was published in a scientific journal PLOS ONE recently.


The findings, courtesy the study conducted by a team of researchers from Boston University School of Medicine in the US and the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, found a striking link between malnutrition, heavy alcohol use and TB. 
The team evaluated those recently diagnosed with TB in Puducherry and two districts of TN — Cuddalore and Villupuram — and compared the study data to population level data in the area. 
It found that malnutrition attributes to more than 61 per cent of TB cases in women, while alcohol was responsible for up to 75 per cent of TB cases in males. 
While there are a variety of factors responsible for the rise in the burden, for which government has been taking up programmes to keep a check, extra measures are being taken to check the cases caused. 
Stating that alcohol is a hindrance in TB treatment, Dr Kumar, State TB Officer, said, “If the patients consume alcohol, their diet will be affected. Moreover, they will also refrain from taking the drugs or following the prescription given to them.” 
“At the district level, we have initiated a psychiatric mobilisation program to educate the patients to stay off alcohol, especially during their treatment. Alcohol will potentiate the liver dysfunction,” he added. 
“At the district level, we have initiated a system where TB patients are given Rs 1,000 a month during their treatment, for nutritional supplements,” added Dr Kumar. 
That aside, local district officers have arranged with the Block Medical Officer in each district to make nutritional food available at the nutritional centres for the poor malnourished patients, particularly female.

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