Liquor ban in Bihar hits TB diagnosis

  • The ban on liquor in Bihar may have had some positives but it has taken a toll on the diagnosis of tuberculosis in the State.
  • Conducting tests for diagnosing tuberculosis has become an uphill task in Bihar since the ban on liquor was imposed in the State last year.

Fodder Points:

  • There is a scarcity of ethyl alcohol which is used to conduct such tests in the laboratories, including those in government facilities.
  • Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment is essential for a successful tuberculosis control programme and its diagnosis at peripheral levels continues to be performed primarily by smear microscopy.
  • The reagents required for smear microscopy (both Ziehl Neelsen and Fluorescent staining) include absolute alcohol. Spirit is also needed for lamps used for making smears.
  • In view of the above and in public interest, special exemption for procuring and using alcohol and spirit for uninterrupted diagnostic services under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) is required.
  • Alcohol and spirit are used for preparation of reagents for microscopy. This is essential for microscopy test.

About Ethyl Alcohol:

  • Ethyl alcoholalso called ethanol, grain alcohol, or alcohol, a member of a class of organic compounds that are given the general name alcohols.
  • Ethyl alcohol is an important industrial chemical; it is used as a solvent, in the synthesis of other organic chemicals, and as an additive to automotive gasoline (forming a mixture known as a gasohol).
  • Ethyl alcohol is also the intoxicating ingredient of many alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits.
  • Pure ethyl alcohol is a colourless, flammable liquid with an agreeable ethereal odour and a burning taste.
  • Ethyl alcohol is toxic, affecting the central nervous system.
  • Moderate amounts relax the muscles and produce an apparent stimulating effect by depressing the inhibitory activities of the brain, but larger amounts impair coordination and judgment, finally producing coma and death.

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