The fight against COVID-19 did not allow phthisiatricians to forget about another equally dangerous infection.
The main epidemiological indicators for tuberculosis in Moscow, even in severe pandemic conditions, are significantly lower than the national average. Mortality – 3.3 times, morbidity – 1.8 times, prevalence – 5.8 times.
Tuberculosis plus COVID-19
Tuberculosis, like COVID-19, is most often transmitted by airborne droplets, so coronavirus restrictions – wearing masks, social distance, and self-isolation – influenced the break in the transmission chain. In addition, fewer foreigners came to Moscow. And thanks to CT diagnostics during the examination, it was possible to timely detect not only COVID-19, but also tuberculosis.
This disease has its own risk groups (migrants, homeless people, people leading an asocial lifestyle), in the era of a pandemic, coronavirus patients who were seriously ill with pneumonia were added to them.
“1.5 million people were examined by the city polyclinics and the anti-tuberculosis service, and the incidence rate was 21 per 100 thousand, which is quite low for any risk group for tuberculosis,” she stressed. Elena Bogorodskaya, chief freelance phthisiatrician of the Moscow Healthcare Department, director of the Moscow City Scientific and Practical Center for Tuberculosis Control…
Unfortunately, active tuberculosis is a contraindication for COVID-19 vaccination. However, when such patients are cured and move to the so-called third group of dispensary observation, they can be vaccinated.
Doctors promise: there will be no outbreak
Despite the pandemic, the treatment of tuberculosis patients was not interrupted for a single day. Patients with a mild form were monitored at home, severe patients – in hospitals. Often, doctors had to treat patients who were diagnosed with two, three, or even four infections. They also faced the task of reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection for those who are in anti-tuberculosis hospitals for a long time. For this, observational departments were organized for patients with tuberculosis and coronavirus. The covid center and intensive care unit worked in separate buildings. After recovering from COVID-19, patients were sent to a 14-day observatory before being admitted to a general hospital.
Today, scientists in different countries are making disappointing predictions that a serious outbreak of tuberculosis is expected after the pandemic. “The fears of our colleagues are certainly well founded. But this situation can arise if during a pandemic control over tuberculosis was weakened. We cannot say that about Moscow. Because the fight against one infection did not give us a reason to stop and stop fighting another. We are in complete control of the situation in the city. Therefore, we do not predict an outbreak of tuberculosis, a slight rollback in the number of cases to the level of 2019 is possible, but even this is unlikely, ”concluded E. Bogorodskaya.