Accelerating TB diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of COVID-19 on TB diagnosis in Singapore, and to identify any factors that could facilitate early detection of TB among persons screened.
DESIGN: To assess the impact of testing and diagnosis of the pandemic on TB, the number of TB-related tests from January 2018 to December 2020 were collected. We also conducted a retrospective case-control study of all adult patients admitted for COVID-19, TB or coinfection from 23 January to 31 May 2020.
RESULTS: Nationwide testing for TB from 2018 to 2020 increased by 24.2%. We analysed 253 adult inpatients, of whom 107 (42.3%) were diagnosed with COVID-19, 134 (53.0%) had TB, while 12 (4.7%) had co-infection. Patients with TB were more likely to have chest X-ray abnormalities than those with COVID-19 (89.9% vs. 76.0%; P < 0.01). Patients with TB were more likely to have prolonged cough vs. those with COVID-19 infection (28 vs. 5 days; P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Early screening for TB, even among patients with COVID-19, could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment, thereby breaking the chain of transmission.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Infectious Diseases, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore 2: Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore 3: Department of Microbiology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore 4: Department of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital, Singapore 5: National Tuberculosis Programme (STEP), National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Singapore 6: Department of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital, Singapore, Infectious Diseases Translational Research Programme, Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Institute for Health Innovation & Technology, National University of Singapore, Singapore 7: National Tuberculosis Programme (STEP), National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Singapore, Department of Infectious Diseases, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
Publication date: July 1, 2022
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