Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 and pulmonary tuberculosis: convergence can be fatal
Disease associated with SARS-CoV-2 also termed as Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19, has become a potential threat to public health by spreading across more than 200 countries worldwide within a short span of time. Tuberculosis (TB) is already existing as unprecedented pandemic worldwide over several years. Both diseases have many overlapping features but there are striking differences too. There is usually chronicity of symptoms in TB as compared to acute or rapid progression in COVID-19. Little evidence exists regarding TB and COVID-19 coinfection. It is anticipated that person with TB either in active, previously treated or latent forms are more at risk of poor outcomes with COVID-19. The relationship between the two diseases is still unclear at present, and more studies are needed to enable analyses of interactions and determinants of outcomes in patients affected by both the diseases. Most of the countries across the world imposed nationwide lockdown to promote social distancing, which is one important preventive measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. However, it becomes quite challenging to ensure smooth functioning of programmatic services, leading to disruption of routine TB care, leading to transmission of infection. Health authorities should frame polices that can support TB patients by providing diagnostic, management and prevention services without any interruption during this era of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Effort should be made to control both the diseases simultaneously and avoid unfavourable outcome in near future.
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