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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 96-98

Effect of COVID-19 on the management of tuberculosis at a rural hospital setting of India

1 Department of Microbiology, Government Erode Medical College, Erode, Tamil Nadu, India
2 MBBS Student, Coimbatore Medical College, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Deputy Director, Medical Services (TB), Erode, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
A R Susethira
Department of Microbiology, Government Erode Medical College, Perundurai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/am.am_142_21

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Background: Preserving and maintaining the continuity of tuberculosis (TB) essential services, expediting the surveillance of populations who are vulnerable to the disease, and carrying out high-quality epidemiologic research are required and very essential for reducing the TB burden in this era of COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, this study aimed toward assessing the effect of COVID-19 on the management of TB at a rural hospital setting of India. Methods: A retrospective observational cohort study is undertaken at a tertiary care hospital setting of India. The data from the TB center of a tertiary care hospital were gathered, where two cohorts are made based on a time frame, and the patients were evaluated over that selected time frame. Results: A total of 472 patients presented to the TB care clinic during the 2019 study period (Cohort A), whereas only 78 patients presented to the clinic in the 2020 study period. The diagnosis of TB was made based on the sputum examination and chest X-ray, where 104/472 (22%) were positive to TB in Cohort A and 42/78 (54%) were TB positive in Cohort B. Discussion: The fraction of TB patients who were obscured from the follow-up was prominently higher during the 2020 period when related to that of 2019 (17% vs. 9.6%; P = 0.01). There were 7 deaths that occurred during 2020 (17%), compared to only 3 deaths (2.8%) in the 2019 period (P = 0.04). Conclusion: Strengthening the governmental policies toward rapid adoption of TB control measures in times of newer challenges like COVID-19 must be an immediate priority in mitigating the disease burden.

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