TB flagged as comorbidity in new Covid clinical management protocol, Health News, ET HealthWorld

TB flagged as comorbidity in new Covid clinical management protocolNEW DELHI: The government has included tuberculosis as a comorbidity that can put patients at “high risk” of severe coronavirus infection and also advised TB testing post Covid-19, if cough persists for more than two to three weeks, in new clinical management protocol for the disease.

Apart from TB, there are six other categories identified as “high risk” for developing severe disease or death due to Covid-19. These include people aged above 60 years, those with cardiovascular disease, hypertension and coronary artery disease (CAD), people suffering from diabetes mellitus or immunocompromised states (such as HIV), patients of active tuberculosis, patients of chronic lung, kidney or liver disease, people with cerebral vascular diseases, and those who are obese.

During the previous surges, the Centre had issued multiple advisories and guidance emphasising on the need for bi-directional screening of TB-Covid and TB-ILI/SARI (influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infection) as notification of TB cases had dropped significantly, particularly in 2020.

Both Covid and TB are infectious and primarily attack the lungs, presenting similar symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing. However, TB has a longer incubation period. While India has set a deadline of 2025 to eliminate TB, the disease continues to be one of the major public health challenges. Each year, it is estimated that over 24.8 lakh new TB cases emerge in India, with about 4 lakh people succumbing to the disease annually. A national TB control programme registered a 25% fall in the detection of new patients during the first half of 2021 when compared with the corresponding period in 2019.