Health Ministry advises COVID screening for all TB patients and vice versa


New Delhi: Covid screening for all diagnosed Tuberculosis (TB) patients and TB screening for all COVID-19 positive patients should be conducted, said the Union Health Ministry on Thursday.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) issued a guidance note on bi-directional TB-COVID screening and screening of TB among influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) cases.

Both TB and COVID-19 primarily attack the lungs, and the prevalence of TB among COVID-19 patients has been found to be 0.37 – 4.47 percent in different studies, the note read.

It further added that there has been an overall decline in TB notification by 26 percent during January to June 2020 as compared to the previous year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease. In addition, TB patients also tend to have co-morbid or living conditions (malnutrition, diabetes, smoking, HIV etc) that increase their vulnerability,” the note said.

Therefore, the Ministry has advised for all newly diagnosed TB patients or those currently on treatment should be tested for COVID-19. Based on its result, further management should be undertaken as per the MoHFW guidelines and the treatment of TB should continue uninterrupted.

Further, all COVID-19 cases should be screened for TB symptoms using the 4-symptom complex (Cough for over 2 weeks, persistent fever for over 2 weeks, significant weight loss, night sweats), history of contact with TB case, history of TB and those symptomatic should be offered chest X-ray and upfront Nuclear Acid Amplification Test (NAAT)- CBNAAT/TrueNat) for diagnosis of TB.

It has also advised linkages of TB service facilities with COVID isolation facilities for intensive management of TB-COVID co-morbid patients.

Further for ILI and SARI cases, testing for TB should be conducted, the Ministry advised.
After 75,760 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, India’s coronavirus tally crossed the 33-lakh mark on Thursday, according to the MOHFW.

With 1,023 new deaths, the cumulative toll has reached 60,472 deaths. The COVID-19 case tally in the country climbed to 33,10,235 including 7,25,991 active cases, and 25,23,772 cured/discharged/migrated.

With 1,73,195 cases, Maharashtra has the highest number of active cases and 23,089 patients have succumbed to the disease in the state.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 9,24,998 samples were tested on Wednesday and over 3.85 crore samples have been tested so far. (ANI)