COVID-19 Impacted Tuberculosis in the U.S.
In the United States, reported tuberculosis (TB) disease diagnoses fell 20% in 2020 and remained 13% lower in 2021 than TB disease diagnoses made before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to preliminary U.S. CDC data published on March 11, 2022.
The new data suggest that the pandemic has substantially affected TB trends in the U.S.
Before COVID-19, TB disease diagnoses typically declined between 1% and 2% each year.
The 2020 and 2021 declines may be related to factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including an actual reduction in incidence and delayed or missed TB diagnoses.
Philip LoBue, MD, FACP, FCCP, Director of CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, commented in a media statement issued on March 24, 2022, "Delayed or missed tuberculosis disease diagnoses are threatening the health of people with TB disease and the communities where they live."
"A delayed or missed TB diagnosis leads to TB disease progression and can result in hospitalization or death – and the risk of transmitting TB to others."
"The nation must ensure that healthcare providers understand how to diagnose and distinguish TB disease from potential cases of COVID-19."
TB prevention and control activities are essential public health functions for communities throughout the U.S.
To assist in these efforts, U.S. CDC launched the Think. Test. Treat TB campaign to help raise awareness of TB and recognize the importance of TB prevention.
Starting a conversation with your doctor is the first step to protecting your family, friends, and community from TB disease.
TB is often prevented by the BCG vaccine, which is deployed millions of times each year.
Note: The CDC statement was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readers.