New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union Health Ministry on Saturday refuted reports which claimed that there has been a sudden spike in Tuberculosis (TB) among patients who have recovered from COVID-19. In a statement, the Health Ministry said that there is a "lack of evidence" to link the increase in TB cases to COVID-19.

However, it said that states and union territories (UTs) have been asked for convergence in efforts among cases of TB and COVID-19. The Health Ministry said appropriate guidelines have also been issued "to reiterate the need for bi-directional screening of TB-COVID and TB-ILI/SARI".

"Due to the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions, case notifications for TB had decreased by about 25 per cent in 2020 but special efforts are being made to mitigate this impact through intensified case finding in OPD settings as well as through active case finding campaigns in the community by all States," it said.

Busting myths over the spike in TB cases, the Health Ministry said that COVID-19 can make the human body susceptible to developing active Tuberculosis cases, which is an opportunistic infection. It also said that TB and COVID-19's dual morbidity can be highlighted as both infections primarily attack lungs and generate similar symptoms like cough, fever and difficulty in breathing.

"Furthermore, TB bacilli can be present in humans in a dormant state and has the potential to start multiplying when the individual’s immunity is compromised for any reason," the Health Ministry said.

"The same is applicable in post COVID scenario, when an individual may develop decreased immunity due to the virus itself or due to the treatment, especially immune-suppressants like steroids".

Meanwhile, India on Saturday recorded 38,079 new coronavirus cases, which took the infection tally to 3,10,64,908, while the death toll reached 4,13,091 with 560 more fatalities. The active cases have declined to 4,24,025 and comprise 1.36 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 97.31 per cent, the Health Ministry said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma