COVID-19 and TB: co-infection can be deadly
−MoPH TB/HIV Focal highlights increased risk
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, April 23, 2020
Persons who have been diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) are at increased risk of developing the most complicated form of COVID-19.
This was disclosed by Focal Point of the National Tuberculosis Programme in Guyana, Dr. Quacy Grant, during the Ministry of Health’s daily update to the nation,
Dr. Grant noted that the symptoms of TB include a cough that lasts over three weeks, fever, chest pain while breathing or coughing all similar indicators to that of COVID-19.
He said persons with TB my require Intensive Unit care and are at a greater risk of dying if they contract the virus.
“TB is an opportunistic disease, which simply means that it attacks those persons whose immune system are already weak. So, your chances of becoming infected with this virus are much higher. If you are affected by both diseases your immune system will not produce the full response needed to fight.” Dr. Grant underscored.
He further explained that both TB and COVID-19 mainly affect the lungs therefore a co-infection means the lungs will not be able to survive such an attack.
Persons living with TB are advised to stay on their medication while keeping the COVID-19 precautionary measures, chief among them is staying home.
“Your room should be well ventilated, so open the windows and use your fan pointing it towards the window. For you, wearing a mask even while at home is a must, especially if you live with others,” Dr. Grant advised.
Additionally, he noted that they must observe strict self-care measures to reduce the chance of contracting the virus. “A balanced diet will assist you with full recovery so make it a priority!”