STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Covid can make one more susceptible to developing active tuberculosis: Health Ministry

The ministry said notification of tuberculosis cases had decreased by about 25 per cent in 2020 due to Covid-related restrictions and special efforts are being made to mitigate this impact.

Published: 17th July 2021 08:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2021 08:54 PM   |  A+A-

A tuberculosis patient being tested for COVID-19 in Tirupati

A tuberculosis patient being tested for COVID-19 in Tirupati. (File photo| Madhav K, EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: COVID-19 can make a person more susceptible to developing active tuberculosis as it is an "opportunistic" infection like black fungus but currently there is not enough evidence to suggest TB cases have risen due to the viral disease, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.

The ministry said notification of tuberculosis cases had decreased by about 25 per cent in 2020 due to Covid-related restrictions and special efforts are being made to mitigate this impact through intensified case findings.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said there have been some news reports alleging that a sudden rise in TB cases have been noticed among patients infected with COVID-19 recently, leaving doctors, who have been receiving around a dozen similar cases every day, worried.

"It is clarified that tuberculosis screening for all COVID-19 patients and COVID-19 screening for all diagnosed TB patients has been recommended by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare," it said.

The ministry said SARS-CoV-2 infection can make an individual more susceptible to developing active TB disease, as it is an "opportunistic infection like black fungus".

There is not enough evidence currently to suggest that there has been an increase in TB cases due to COVID-19 or due to increased case finding efforts, it said, adding states and Union Territories have been asked for convergence in efforts for better surveillance and finding of TB and COVID-19 cases as early as August 2020.

Also, the health ministry has issued multiple advisories and guidance reiterating the need for bi-directional screening of TB-COVID and TB-ILI/SARI.

"Due to the impact of COVID-related restrictions, case notifications for TB had decreased by about 25 per cent in 2020 but special efforts are being made to mitigate this impact through intensified case finding in OPD settings as well as through active case finding campaigns in the community by all states."

The dual morbidity of tuberculosis and COVID-19 can be further highlighted through the fact that both diseases are known to be infectious and primarily attack the lungs, presenting similar symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing.

But TB has a longer incubation period and a slower onset of disease, the health ministry said.

"Furthermore, TB bacilli can be present in humans in a dormant state and has the potential to start multiplying when the individual's immunity is compromised for any reason.

"The same is applicable in a post-Covid scenario when an individual may develop decreased immunity due to the virus itself or due to the treatment, especially immune-suppressants like steroids," the Health Ministry said.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp