Of about 8,000 private clinics in the city, around 5,000 have not been reporting the tuberculosis cases to the government. Reporting TB cases has been made mandatory under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) and non-reporting is a punishable offence. Hospitals are expected to report TB cases on Nikshay, a web enabled patient management system for TB control under the RNTCP. Last year, a total of 11,000 cases were reported. Shockingly, this year 11, 6,517 cases have already been reported on the Nikshay portal. Dr G Srinivas, district tuberculosis officer, says the officials have planned an Active Case Finding next month. This includes visits to T B-prone areas and finding suspects. In the first quarter, the initiative detected around 500 cases. Dr Srinivas says they would also be starting a sensitisation programme for private practitioners. Dr Arundati Das, project co-ordinator, RNTCP, says, “At any given point of time, more than 1,000 people in Bengaluru suffer from TB. Last year, 11,000 cases were reported and this year it has already crossed that total before the completion of six months.” However, Dr Satyanarayana Mysore, consultant interventional pulmonologist and sleep medicine, Manipal Hospitals, feels the numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. He has suggested coordination with the laboratories and Primary Healthcare Centres to make updates on the portal. Dr G Srinivas has observed most number of cases being reported in slum areas, with high migrants’ population. “We see more cases in areas such as KR Puram, Whitefield, Varthur, Laggere and Yelahanka,” he says. One of the main challenges that experts face is the discontinuation of treatment by the patients leading to Multi Drug Resistent TB (MDR TB), which can persist for two years. Dr Das says, “The actual course of treatment is six months but a patient might feel better in a couple of weeks and discontinue the treatment. However, our programme will ensure regular follow up and counselling.” Dr. Ramesh BR, consultant pulmonology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur, says, “TB patient should be kept isolated for almost two weeks. If a patient is at home, they should stay indoors and only step out after 3-4 weeks of the treatment. It is also necessary for them to wear masks to control the spread of bacteria from one person to the other.” Dr Beulah Prasad, medical officer, community health department, St Martha’s Hospital said, “If everyone reports the cases, the true number will be out. According to the World Health Organisation, three people in India die of TB every two minutes.”