Bengaluru, Sep 28, 2020: Covid-19 pandemic has affected all the key strategic interventions of tuberculosis programmes resulting in almost 35% decline in TB case notification in 2020 as compared to the previous year in Karnataka.
The decline in TB notification may lead to significant morbidity and mortality, and an increased likelihood of active transmission in the household and close contacts in the state.
Recent evidence has also shown that TB is an important risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection, it may also lead to rapid and severe Covid-19 disease with poor outcomes.
In order to address this dual morbidity of both the infections, all newly diagnosed TB patients or those currently on treatment will be tested for Covid-19 by RT-PCR/Truenat/CBNAAT, acoording to an order passed by the Karnataka government on September 24.
All Covid-19 cases should also be screened for TB symptoms if symptoms persist for more than ten days. TB screening has to be done for SARI cases if symptoms persist for more than 10 days.
lmplementation of these guidelines will go a long way in improving the case detection of the both the diseases.
Tuberculosis and Covid-19 are infectious diseases which primarily attack the lungs. They present with similar symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing, although TB disease has a longer incubation period and a slower onset of disease. The prevalence of TB among Covid-19 patients has been found to be 0.37 - 4.47% in different studies.
ln addition, TB patients also tend to have co-morbid or living conditions (malnutrition, diabetes, smoking, HIV etc) that increase their vulnerability.