A 20-year-old nursing student from BYL Nair hospital has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, making her the fourth nursing student since June to have tested positive for the deadly air-borne illness at the facility.
Top officials of Nair hospital were clueless about the latest exposure, but a doctor, on condition of anonymity, confirmed it, saying, “The student was diagnosed with TB on Friday and is now admitted in the general ward of the hospital.” Tuberculosis is caused by germs spread through the air, often when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Earlier, two nursing students were diagnosed with TB from the same hospital, and MiD DAY, in its October 16 edition, had reported on one of the cases. Meanwhile, a third-year nursing student is still undergoing treatment for tuberculosis of the brain and is admitted to the medical intensive care unit (MICU) at the hospital. When contacted, Dr R Barmal, dean, Nair hospital, said, “I am not aware of this recent case where another nursing student has contracted TB. I would be able to confirm it only after getting details from the matron.”
Earlier this year, on June 30, a 24-year-old intern from Sion Hospital, Dr Samidha Khandare, succumbed to multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) despite undergoing treatment for almost six months. In civic-run Sion hospital, seven doctors have contracted TB in the last year. Following this, the BMC had started providing a high protein complimentary breakfast for the resident doctors to build up their immunity against the air-borne disease.
However, the exact number of doctors and other medical staff exposed to the disease is not known, as several of them hesitate to report it to the authorities due to the stigma attached. “We are at an increased risk of contracting TB, as we treat such patients on a daily basis. Add to that the long working hours, poor living conditions and lack of ventilation in the hostel rooms, more doctors and nursing students are becoming vulnerable to TB,” said the doctor.