Govt. advisory National

Test for TB after COVID-19 if cough persists, says Centre

Medic collects swab sample for COVID 19 tests in Bengaluru on January 18, 2022.

Medic collects swab sample for COVID 19 tests in Bengaluru on January 18, 2022.

The Union Health Ministry has advised the COVID-19 patients to undergo tests for tuberculosis and other conditions if cough persists for more than two-three weeks. It also instructed the States to keep an eye on the decline in the number of COVID-19 tests.

Arti Ahuja, additional secretary, Health Ministry, stated that it was important to effectively track the spread of the pandemic. In a letter to the States, she observed that there should be increased testing in a strategic manner keeping in view the trend of case positivity in specific areas.

Testing remained a key and crucial component. It was seen from the data available on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) portal that testing had declined in many States and Union Territories. In all the advisories on testing issued by the ICMR, including the latest on January 10, the basic objective remained the early detection of cases for quick isolation and care, she explained.

Key strategy

Testing remained a key strategy for pandemic management, as it helped in identification of new clusters and new hotspots of infection that could in turn facilitate immediate action for containment such as setting up of containment zones, contact tracing, quarantining, isolation and follow-up, she pointed out.

Meanwhile, the revised ‘Clinical Guidance for Management of Adult COVID-19 Patients’ issued by the Health Ministry has added active tuberculosis as a high- risk factor for severe disease or mortality and underlined the need for investigation in case cough persists for over 2-3 weeks.

The Ministry said there was no evidence of injectable steroids benefitting COVID-19 patients not requiring oxygen supplementation or in continuation after discharge.

“Anti-inflammatory or immunomodulatory therapy, such as steroids, could have the risk of secondary infection like invasive mucormycosis, when used too early, at higher dose or for longer than required,’’ it said.

Those aged above 60, or those having cardiovascular disease, hypertension and coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus and other immunocompromised states such as HIV, active tuberculosis, chronic lung, kidney or liver disease, cerebrovascular disease or obesity are at high risk for severe disease and mortality, the guidelines noted.


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 12:49:51 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/fresh-clinical-management-protocol-includes-active-tb-as-comorbidity/article38287545.ece