Fri, 04 Dec 2020

KATHMANDU, Nov. 20 (Xinhua)-- The prevalence and death from the tuberculosis is at worrying stage in Nepal, according the National TB Prevalence Survey carried out by the National Tuberculosis Centre recently.

With the technical support from the World Health Organization, the survey has revealed that 17,003 people die annually of tuberculosis at the rate of 46 people per day.

"The number is three times higher than estimated earlier," Basundhara Sharma, information officer at the National Tuberculosis Center told Xinhua on Friday. "This is a worrying picture."

The estimated annual death from the communicable disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria remained at 5,500. The survey report carried out last year and released in August this year is the first of its kind done using latest technology and tools.

The study has also revealed that there are 117,000 recorded cases of tuberculosis which is 415 per 100,000.

"This is 1.6 times higher than estimated" said Sharma. "The estimated cases stand at 60,000."

Sharma said the survey has come as a challenge against Nepal government's commitment to reduce the infections to 10 in every 100,000 population by 2035 and eradicate the disease by 2050.

The officials said the reason behind higher prevalence and death than the estimation is because large numbers of cases during the survey was found asymptomatic.

More than 70 percent had no reported symptoms but showed abnormal chest X-ray, according to the report. The experts on the tuberculosis say the disease could become epidemic if government doesn't take a proper measure to tackle the present situation.

Chest physician and tuberculosis expert Dr. Dirgha Singh Bam said the problem might be serious if people don't act on time. "The survey shows the country is heading towards tuberculosis epidemic," he told Xinhua.

"The survey was done prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am sure the situation of tuberculosis prevalence has only worsened after the pandemic."

Sharma agrees that the present way of intervention is not going to work to control the disease. "There is need to larger allocation of budget, human resource and better strategy to deal with the situation."

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