Government today said that 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. Union Health Ministry said, there have been some media reports alleging that a sudden rise in cases of Tuberculosis has been noticed among patients who were infected with COVID-19 recently, leaving the doctors worried on receiving around a dozen similar cases every day.
The Ministry has clarified that TB screening for all COVID-19 positive patients and COVID-19 screening for all diagnosed TB patients has been recommended by the Union Government. States and UTs have been asked for convergence in efforts for better surveillance and case finding of TB and COVID-19, as early as August 2020.
The Ministry said, due to the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions, case notifications for TB had decreased by about 25 per cent in 2020. It said, 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 facts that both the diseases are known to be infectious and primarily attack the lungs, presenting similar symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing.