FIT WebQoof: No, Close Proximity to a Cow Cannot Cure Tuberculosis

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The Claim

Our ministers and their obsession with cows seems to have no end. Just recently, Sadhvi Pragya had claimed cow urine could cure cancer, and now we have Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Trivendra Singh Yadav’s advice on massaging a cow to cure breathing problems and treat tuberculosis (TB).

The minister also claimed that cow is the only living being in the world that inhales and exhales oxygen.

Tuberculosis Is No Joke

The National Health Portal of India defines tuberculosis as an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is spread through the air by a person suffering from TB, and it is estimated that a single patient can infection 10 or more people in a year. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the strongest risk factor for tuberculosis among adults. Tobacco use, malnutrition and alcoholism are other reasons that could contribute.

India reports the highest number of TB cases in the world. According to the World Health’s Organisation’s 2018 Global TB Report, two main ways of reducing TB incidence and death are diagnosis and treatment, areas where "large and persistent" gaps remain.

TB is one of the leading causes of mortality in India. It kills more than 300,000 people in India every year.

Some common symptoms of TB are cough for three weeks or more, fever, weight loss and loss of appetite.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests Directly Observed Treatment Short (DOTS) as the internationally recommended strategy for controlling TB. It comprises five components:

  1. Sustained political and financial commitments
  2. Diagnosis by quality ensured sputum-smear microscopy
  3. Standardized short-cause anti-TB treatment given under direct and supportive observation
  4. A regular, uninterrupted supply of high quality anti-TB drugs
  5. Standardized recording and reporting

The success rate of DOTS is 95 percent. TB is completely curable. The treatment can span up to six months. In cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (caused by strains of the TB bacteria resistant to the two most effective anti-tuberculosis drugs available- isoniazid and rifampicin), the treatment could take 18-24 months and is much more expensive.

So no, patting a cow is certainly not a cure for a serious condition like TB.

What About Oxygen?

No human or animal in the world exhales oxygen. Plants are the only beings that inhale carbon-dioxide and exhale oxygen. Science has established this time and again.

According to National Geographic, “Plants and animals each produce the gases that the other needs to live. Plants need carbon dioxide—people and other animals exhale carbon dioxide as a waste product. People and other animals need oxygen—plants produce oxygen during an important process called photosynthesis, which turns the sun’s energy into nutrients.”

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