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Centre calls for dual TB-covid screening

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NEW DELHI :
The Union health ministry on Thursday directed authorities to conduct bidirectional covid-19 and tuberculosis (TB) screening, citing studies indicating that a history of active and latent TB is a risk factor in SARS CoV-2 infection. This leads to higher susceptibility and shows severe symptoms and disease progression, the government said.

The prevalence of TB among covid-19 patients has been found to be 0.37% to 4.47% in different studies, said the Union health ministry. “TB is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe covid-19 disease. In addition, TB patients tend to have co-morbidity or living conditions such as malnutrition, diabetes, smoking, HIV, which increase their vulnerability,” the ministry said in a guidance note.

“There has been an overall decline in TB notification by 26% in January-June 2020 as compared to the previous year due to the pandemic. To address this dual morbidity of TB and covid-19, covid-19 screening for all diagnosed TB patients and TB screening for all covid-19 positive patients should be conducted,” it said.

TB screening should also be done for influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infections, the ministry added.

Graphic: Mint

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Graphic: Mint

Cases of covid-19 continue to rise in India with 75,090 fresh cases reported in the last 24 hours alone, the highest single-day rise since the outbreak. On Thursday, India’s case count was at 3,377,404, with 61,636 fatalities. The last 24 hours saw a record 1,005 deaths. India’s case fatality rate is 1.83%.

Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Guaba and other officials on Thursday held a meeting on covid-19 management and response strategy with chief secretaries and health secretaries of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

“In the last two weeks, 89% of the deaths are in these 10 states and Union territories and, hence, these states and UTs need to have continued and rigorous vigil to contain the spread of infection,” the health ministry said.

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