Srinagar, Mar 24: On World Tuberculosis Day, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday said extrapulmonary tuberculosis cases are on the rise in Kashmir hospitals.
“We see many patients coming to our hospitals with tuberculosis of brain, spine, intestines, genitourinary tract, heart and lymph nodes,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said tuberculosis commonly affects lungs, but if it affects other parts of the body other than the lung, it is known as extrapulmonary tuberculosis.
“The number of undetected extrapulmonary tuberculosis cases in the community could be greater than the number of notified cases,” he said.
The DAK President said despite advances in diagnosis and expansion of TB services, extrapulmonary case detection efforts are usually unsuccessful.
“Since extrapulmonary tuberculosis has vague clinical presentation as compared to pulmonary tuberculosis, timely detection is challenging. Patients seek medical attention late which leads to the diagnostic delay of the illness,” he said.
“Even the healthcare personnel don’t catch the disease early,” he said adding “lack of rapid, simple and accurate diagnostic tools for diagnosing extrapulmonary tuberculosis prolong diagnostic delay.”
Dr Nisar said the microbiological tests in extrapulmonary tuberculosis are usually negative and patients are mostly picked up by clinical judgment and treated empirically.
“Since extrapulmonary tuberculosis is rarely infectious, the aspect of transmission is not as important as in pulmonary tuberculosis, but delay in diagnosis and treatment leads to increase in death and disability,” he said.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said there is an urgent need to make general public aware about the disease and impart continuous training to healthcare workers to pick up these cases early.
“Timely detection and treatment is key to eradicate the disease from the community,” he said.
“Every year on March 24, world TB day is observed to raise public awareness about the disease and to set efforts to end global TB pandemic,” he added.