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TB battle: States told to follow WHO guidelines

The Union Health Ministry has asked all state tuberculosis (TB) officers to endorse the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), urging countries to ban “unapproved” blood tests to diagnose the disease.

In a letter to the officers, consultants and senior regional directors, the Deputy Director General, head, Central TB Division, Dr Ashok Kumar, has asked them to “disseminate this message to all stakeholders involved in TB control in India”. According to the WHO, the use of currently available commercial blood (serological) tests to diagnose active TB often leads to misdiagnosis, mistreatment and potential harm to public health.

The WHO has, therefore, urged countries to ban the inaccurate and unapproved blood tests and instead rely on accurate “microbiological or molecular tests”.

The new recommendation comes after 12 months of rigorous analysis of evidence by WHO and global experts. “Overwhelming evidence showed that the blood tests produced an unacceptable level of wrong results — false-positives or false-negatives,” it said.

According to Dr Kumar, the serological tests continue to be used extensively specially in the private health sector.

Source:- The Indian Express

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