The coronavirus outbreak has shifted the focus of our health care system to find out ways to control the pandemic. Because of this, some other diseases – which require urgent attention – are being neglected. One such disease is tuberculosis which claims 1.5 million lives worldwide, each year.
Tuberculosis begins with a mild fever and malaise, followed by a painful cough and shortness of breath. It can spread to people in a close reach. Although it is not as infectious as the COVID-19, if left untreated can lead to resistant disease in the future.
“Coronavirus is perhaps even more infectious than Tuberculosis. The major route of infection by Tuberculosis is via droplet and cough. However, coronavirus spreads though droplets and fomites, which are droplets containing the virus which can persist for hours if not days on surfaces,” said Dr. Salaah Qureshi, MD, Internal Medicine, AXIS Hospital.
Other modes of transmission like through the skin or digestive tract are very rare, Dr. Qureshi added.
For this uninitiated, India is home to about 27 per cent of the world’s TB cases and diagnoses have dropped by nearly 75 per cent since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Also, it is not just the TB patients; there are people with diseases like HIV and cancer which are not getting access to the proper medical facilities.
“Because the global attention is now being consumed by COVID-19, patients suffering from other diseases are unfortunately getting less attention. This is especially true for the population that depends on government services for medical care. Diseases like TB if not treated properly, can lead to resistant disease in the future, which in most cases is extremely difficult to treat. The same is true for other diseases like cancer, which can advance extremely quickly and be devastating, if not treated early,” the doctor said.