Prevention and Treatment of Tuberculosis in the Covid-19 Era


World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed every March 24 every year to increase public awareness and understanding of one of the deadliest diseases in the world. The theme for Tuberculosis in 2022 is “Invest to End TB. Save Lives” to achieve commitments to end TB. In commemoration of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, Raisa Raido UGM held a Casual Talk on Thursday (24/3) considering this is important in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

dr. Sumardi, SpPD, KP, Lecturer of the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonology, FKKMK, Gadjah Mada University, explained that based on 2016 WHO data, 1/3 of the world’s population has been exposed to tuberculosis (TB) germs. In addition, Indonesia is the second largest country in the world with TB.

“So, actually TB germs are very friendly with humans. TB is known to have existed for a long time. It is known from the results scanning mummy in Egypt showing TB in the spine. TB can spread anywhere in the body, not just in the lungs. However, 80% of it is in the lungs because the lungs are the main source of TB entry,” said Sumardi on Thursday (24/3).

Sumardi said that it was important to know the difference between Tuberculosis (TB) and the Covid-19 virus.

“The difference is, if you have TB the fever doesn’t go away. So, the fever continues even though it is not too high (eg 38, 37.8, 38.2 degrees). In addition, the fever will not go away if it is not treated with TB drugs. Other symptoms of TB are chest pain and night sweats. Meanwhile, if Omicron the fever is 2-3 days gone, but the cough is prolonged because there is inflammation or prolonged inflammation in the respiratory tract,” he said.

According to Sumardi, early TB examination can be carried out with an IGRA examination.Interferon-Gamma Release Assays).

“IGRA is a blood test used to assist in the diagnosis of Tuberculosis (TB). If the IGRA is positive, it means there is active TB in the body. So, this was only recommended by WHO at the end of 2021,” said Sumardi.

Sumardi further explained that TB can be prevented by giving the BCG vaccine (Bacillus Calmette–Guérin).

“Actually, the Indonesian government and other countries are doing TB prevention with BCG vaccination. It’s been done since the baby, although it does not prevent 100%. The BCG vaccine can prevent severe TB (eg in the brain and heart). TB is also transmitted through the air, so the prevention is how the coughing person wears a mask,” he said.

Author: Desy

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