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TB and COVID-19

The importance of considering TB and COVID-19
© Public Health England

As the world comes together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that essential services and operations are actively engaged in ensuring an effective and rapid response to COVID-19 while ensuring that TB services are maintained.

Modelling work suggests that between 2020 and 2025 an additional 1.4 million TB deaths could be registered as direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic .

It is important that the progress made in TB prevention and care is not reversed by the COVID19 pandemic. Finding and treating people with TB remain the fundamental pillars of TB prevention and care and those would require maintained attention.

People ill with COVID-19 and TB show similar symptoms such as cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Both diseases attack primarily the lungs and although both biological agents transmit mainly via close contact, the incubation period from exposure to disease in TB is longer, often with a slow onset.

While experience on COVID-19 infection in TB patients remains limited, it is anticipated that people ill with both TB and COVID-19 may have poorer treatment outcomes, especially if TB treatment is interrupted. Therefore it is critical that TB treatment is not disrupted during this time.

For more information, please see the WHO information sheet on COVID-19 and TB.

Also see the Stop TB page for more information.

© Public Health England
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