Are people with tuberculosis likely to be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection, illness and death?
While experience on COVID-19 infection in tuberculosis (TB) patients remains limited, it is anticipated that people ill with both TB and COVID-19 may have poorer treatment outcomes, especially if TB treatment is interrupted.
Older age, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are linked with more severe COVID-19 and are also risk factors for poor outcomes in TB.
TB patients should take precautions as advised by health authorities to be protected from COVID-19 and continue their TB treatment as prescribed.
People ill with COVID-19 and TB show similar symptoms such as cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Both diseases attack primarily the lungs and although both biological agents transmit mainly via close contact, the incubation period from exposure to disease in TB is longer, often with a slow onset.