How COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens Millions Tuberculosis Patients

Tuberculosis

While the government has instituted several measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there is a risk of other communicable diseases infections rising in numbers as healthcare workers are not able to test the vulnerable populations and patients are not able to access medical care.

Tuberculosis a bacterial disease that affects the lungs is likely to be on the rise as the world’s TB response is centred on testing and treating as many patients as possible which is currently not happening. In spite of the drugs and treatment medics are not yet close to ending TB and it remains the biggest infectious killer disease and COVID-19 only made it worse. There has been significant concern over the millions of people living with the infection as Covid-19 spreads.

According to models developed TB doctors in partnership with epidemiologists at Imperial College London which used TB response data from three high-incidence countries: India, Kenya and Ukraine, a two-month global lockdown and a rapid recovery in response programmes for COVID-19 could lead to more than 1.8 additional TB infections globally over the next five years and a predicted 340,000 deaths.

“TB is actually curable with affordable drugs. So a lot of control efforts in recent decades have really been focused in diagnosing cases as quickly as possible. Lockdowns and other measures against coronavirus are affecting these systems for managing tuberculosis. In fact (in the models) it takes several years for this elevated TB burden to come down to pre-lockdown levels,” noted an associate professor in mathematical epidemiology at Imperial.

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