Bengaluru: Health and Medical Education Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar said that Tuberculosis (TB) has been detected among several people who have recovered from COVID-19 and the Government has sought a detailed report on this.
Speaking at an event organised by the Health Department on the occasion of World TB Day on Mar. 24, he said, “For the first time in India, tuberculosis screening has been conducted by the Government for those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the State. Among 25 lakh people who were tested, 144 people were found to have tuberculosis. These people have contracted tuberculosis after recovering COVID-19,” he said.
The Government has sought a detailed report on the incidence of TB in COVID-19 recovered patients. The State Government is committed to make Karnataka TB-free by 2025, he said adding that TB, like COVID-19, is a contagious disease.
“COVID-19 is caused by a virus and TB is caused by a bacteria. The WHO has said that the entire world must be made TB-free by 2030. This cannot be done just by doctors and the Government. The entire society needs to join hands and work collectively to achieve this target,” he noted.
Dr. Sudhakar suggested that people must undergo a test if any of these symptoms are seen — cough for more than two weeks, fever in the evening, sudden weight loss etc.
“In rural areas, people don’t get tested even if they are unwell. One TB patient can spread the disease to at least 10 people. If this happens, one person’s negligence will end up harming others. So, a lot more awareness has to be created about TB. The State Government is spending more than Rs. 5 crore every year to create awareness about diseases,” he added.
Dr. Sudhakar said that on the detection of a contagious disease people should not stigmatise the patients. “We need to end such stigma in society. Such stigma will cause mental and emotional distress among patients. We must work towards supporting these people emotionally. Additionally, once it is identified that a person has TB, they must be guided to isolate and ensure that others in their family are kept safe,” he said.