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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 57

Indian endemic in a pandemic

Department of Respiratory Medicine, Vinayaka Mission Medical College, Karaikal, Puducherry, India

Date of Submission18-Dec-2021
Date of Acceptance18-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication21-Jan-2022

Correspondence Address:
R Sridhar
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Vinayaka Mission Medical College, Karaikal, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/japt.japt_48_21

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How to cite this article:
Sridhar R. Indian endemic in a pandemic. J Assoc Pulmonologist Tamilnadu 2021;4:57

How to cite this URL:
Sridhar R. Indian endemic in a pandemic. J Assoc Pulmonologist Tamilnadu [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 May 16];4:57. Available from: http://www.japt.com/text.asp?2021/4/2/57/336175

Tuberculosis (TB) is an unbeatable endemic disease since decades and still a leading cause of death from a single infectious disease in India. India accounts for about a quarter of the global TB burden. COVID-19 declared as pandemic a year ago; within a year, each and every one aware of this and knows the consequences, mode of spread, severity, symptoms, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic has currently overtaken every other health issue throughout the world. There are numerous ways in which this will impact existing public health issues. All the recourses have been mobilized to control pandemic even though incidence, prevalence, and mortality of tuberculosis are higher than COVID-19.

National TB Elimination Program (NTEP) to achieve End TB by 2025 is implementing TB prevention and control activities on mission mode. NTEP had taken intensive measures for the last 3 years to control TB cases by various interventions till March 2020. Lockdown due to COVID-19 has affected all the key strategic interventions and almost 60% drop in TB case notifications. Due to COVID-19 and lockdown situations, TB screening activities have been disrupted which increases the risk of spread to contacts; one pulmonary TB patient, if untreated, can infect 10–15 individuals in a year. Moreover, nondiagnosis, nontreatment, or discontinuation of anti-TB medication due to the lockdown increases the drug-resistant disease and mortality.

NTEP announced a Rapid Response Plan to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the TB epidemic and the NTEP activities. Rapid response plan objective is to implement rapid response measures for normalizing and expanding coverage of TB services to pre-COVID-19 levels and beyond and to revitalize TB elimination efforts of the country by adopting novel strategic interventions to accelerate the NTEP response.

Every healthcare worker should take step to control TB cases in the pandemic period. In fever clinic, the patients are screened for COVID and got tested for COVID-19 virus. If patient turns positive, he/she got notified and directed for COVID-19 management as per the protocol. We need to concern more about the patients who have fever and respiratory symptoms turns negative for COVID-19 test. These patients need to be investigated further to rule out RT-PCR–negative COVID-19 infection or look for causes especially TB before sending him/her back to home with just symptomatic medication. Due to high burden of TB in India, in every fever or COVID-19 screening clinic, it is mandatory to screen the patient for TB along with COVID-19 by obtaining further clinical history such as loss of appetite, loss of weight, history of (h/o) contact, and prior h/o TB and do testing to rule out TB.

TB is more contagious and has high morbidity and mortality than COVID-19, and COVID-19–infected patients are also at risk of developing TB.We must not neglect the rooted endemic in our country against the ongoing pandemic. We should take all measures to enhance TB control activities and not be suppressed in COVID-19 pandemic. In India we need to perform various research studies on the impact of COVID-19 on TB and to control TB cases along with COVID-19 pandemic.


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