Tuberculosis & COVID-19
Indonesia is facing two pandemics that largely affect the social lives and livelihood of its population which are Tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19. Tuberculosis is an old infectious disease but it is also the deadliest and still exists in all countries. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19, a new emerging infectious disease, as a pandemic.
TRANSMISSION OF TB & COVID-19 (WHO, April 2020)
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 both TB and COVID-19 spread by close contact between people the exact mode of transmission differs, explaining some differences in infection control measures to mitigate the two conditions. TB bacilli remain suspended in the air in droplet nuclei for several hours after a TB patient coughs, sneezes, shouts, or sings, and people who inhale them can get infected. The size of these droplet nuclei is a key factor determining their infectiousness. Their concentration decreases with ventilation and exposure to direct sunlight.
COVID-19 transmission has primarily been attributed to the direct breathing of droplets expelled by someone with COVID-19 (people may be infectious before clinical features become apparent). Droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, exhaling and speaking may land on objects and surfaces, and contacts can get infected with COVID-19 by touching them and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth1 . Handwashing, in addition to respiratory precautions, are thus important in the control of COVID-19. Hospital procedures that generate aerosols predispose to infection of both conditions and should only be conducted within recommended safeguards.
FURTHER INFO ABOUT TB & COVID-19
A webinar about TB protocol and rapid molecular test for COVID-19 was held on Wednesday, April 8 2020 using Zoom with speakers:
1. dr. Wiendra Waworuntu, M.Kes (Director of Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control, Ministry of Health of the Republic of IndonesiaO
2. dr. Imran Pambudi, MPHM (Head of Sub-directorate of Tuberculosis, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia)