All people diagnosed with tuberculosis should be tested for COVID-19, health ministry says

Tuberculosis and COVID-19 are infectious diseases, which mainly attack the lungs and have similar symptoms of cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.

Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1 times higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, the health ministry said on Wednesday, recommending that all tuberculosis patients newly diagnosed or currently on treatment be tested for COVID-19 and vice versa.

The prevalence of tuberculosis among patients with COVID-19 was found to be 0.37 to 4.47% in different studies, the ministry said and stressed that there had been an overall drop in notification of tuberculosis by 26% between January and June, compared to the previous one. year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In its “Guidance Note on Two-Way Tuberculosis-COVID Screening and Tuberculosis Screening Among Influenza-like Illness / SARI Cases” released Wednesday, the ministry said studies have shown a history of active tuberculosis and Latent are a significant risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 Infection.

“This results not only in increased sensitivity, but also in rapid and severe development of symptoms and disease progression with poor results. Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1 times higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, ”the document said.

In addition, tuberculosis patients also tend to have comorbidities or living conditions (malnutrition, diabetes, smoking, HIV, etc.) that increase their vulnerability. In order to combat this double morbidity of tuberculosis and COVID-19, activities such as two-way screening for TB-COVID, tuberculosis screening for influenza-like illness (ILI) cases and tuberculosis screening for cases of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) should be carried out, the ministry said.

As part of the two-way TB-COVID screening, COVID screening for all diagnosed TB patients and TB screening for all positive COVID patients should be performed.

Tuberculosis and COVID-19 are infectious diseases that mainly attack the lungs. They exhibit similar symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty breathing, although tuberculosis has a longer incubation period and slower disease onset, according to the document.

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