Mumbai: Following a private hospital's report on 12 cases of totally drug-resistant tuberculosis that sparked a panic, the Maharashtra government and the civic body are now on an all-out drive to stop the spread of the disease.

An action plan to manage the drug-resistant strains has been earmarked for the entire city of Mumbai, where each of the 24 municipal wards, under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), will have a TB officer reporting regularly to authorities. The officers will be sent for training at Bengaluru's National TB Institute.

A day after the Central TB division team declared the totally drug resistant strain, the state government, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and private hospitals came up with a plan to work together to detect cases and disburse medicines.

Adequate steps will also be taken to ensure patients take their medicine on time and follow the entire course. Doctors in private hospitals have been advised to notify authorities about any drug resistant cases they come across.

The Central TB division said patients in Mumbai would be treated free for drug-resistant TB whether they have enrolled with RNTCP or not.

Responding well

Whilst emphasising that the city had not had a case of the totally drug resistant strand, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said people need not panic over the "so-called incurable disease" diagnosed recently at Hinduja Hospital. The patients diagnosed were responding well to treatment, he said.

Even as the pilot project got underway yesterday, BMC additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said efforts to control TB would be fully underway by February 1.

A research project on the prevalence of TB in the congested slums of Dharavi will also be undertaken with a World Health Organisation co-ordinator monitoring the work.