Rajinder Singh has been Delhi-based entrepreneur Vinay Guptas driver for 20-odd years. He drives him to the office every day, takes care of his dry-cleaning and even replaces the cook on Sundays when Gupta takes his wife and children to their farmhouse in Gurgaon. A little over a year ago, Singh asked for sick leavehe had been suffering from a cough, fever and night sweats that left him drenched for a few days. When his symptoms persisted for two weeks, Guptas wife took him to their family doctor. An X-ray and saliva sample showed Singh had tuberculosis (TB). He was immediately put on a six-month course of antibiotics.
Guptas doctor advised him to get his daughters, both less than six years old, tested for TB. Adults are not tested unless they show symptoms.
The girls were not infected. Gupta and his wife were advised to watch for the symptoms, though the doctor didnt expect the children to get the disease since they were both in excellent health.
Vivek Nangia, head of department of pulmonology at Fortis Healthcare, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, says: I have seen similar cases and the best thing is to get medical-check ups of the domestic staff done regularly. In case of a persistent cough accompanied with fever and night sweats, its best to consult a physician immediately.
Sujata Kelkar Shetty, PhD, writes on public health issues
and is a research scientist trained at the National Institutes of
Health in Bethesda, US.