Doctors in Madhya Pradesh have noticed a sudden rise in tuberculosis cases among patients who have recent history of Covid-19. They said several patients contracted tuberculosis days after their recovery from Covid-19.
Covid-19 is a viral disease caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 while tuberculosis or TB is a bacterial infection. Both diseases, however, commonly impact lungs and respiratory system.
Dr Lokendra Dave, the head of the medicine department at Bhopal’s Hamidia Hospital, said most of the new tuberculosis patients came with a recent coronavirus history.
He said, “An abnormally large number of people, who are testing positive for tuberculosis, has coronavirus history. This is a fact but nothing more can be said conclusively beyond at this stage as to whether it is a direct consequence of Corona and the subsequent treatments that were given to these patients.”
At the out-patient department (OPD) of the Hamidia Hospital, which is part of the Gandhi Medical College, about a dozen patients are testing positive for tuberculosis every day.
At Bhopal’s government-run TB hospital, most patients who have been admitted in the last 15 days are those who have recovered from Covid-19.
One among them is 15-year-old Vibha. She had tested positive for Covid-19 during the second wave. According to Vibha’s mother, no one in the family has a history of TB.
“My daughter tested positive for Corona and we somehow managed to save her with the help of prescribed medicines including Remdesivir but now she has tested for TB,” she said.
Dr Akash Mangole, who is treating Vibha at the TB hospital, said many Covid-recovered patients were infected with tuberculosis.
“Many new TB patients who are also showing symptoms have come out of Corona and their sputum test is confirming tuberculosis and this is certainly serious if not alarming,” Dr Mangole said.
No survey or study has been conducted in Madhya Pradesh to determine the scale of tuberculosis prevalence among Covid-recovered. But the doctors advise people to be on guard.
Dr Dave said, “Coronavirus during the second wave was so widely spread that many people suffering from various ailments were hesitant to visit hospitals, which were full. It could be possible that people already suffering from TB could have contracted Covid-19 but the general advice to people showing symptoms is to get them tested.”
Dr Gopi Krishna Yeslapati, a consultant interventional pulmonologist of the Yashoda Hospitals in Hyderabad, said the second wave saw a rise in fungal infections and tuberculosis cases in Covid-recovered patients.
“But the good part is those diagnosed with TB are getting cured,” Dr Yeslapati said.
Dr Gopi Krishna said, “When we investigate the sputum, we are seeing significant numbers of patients having tuberculosis infections. In a few sets of patients at Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad, we use a special technique of investigation to diagnose TB (drug-resistant TB) versus fungus by bronchoscopy, which is an endoscopic technique to get an accurate diagnosis.”
“But, my personal experience shows that these patients diagnosed with TB are getting cured well when compared to fungal infections,” Dr Gopi Krishna said.