Worldwide Effects of Coronavirus Disease Pandemic on Tuberculosis Services, January–April 2020

Giovanni Battista Migliori; Pei Min Thong; Onno Akkerman; Jan-Willem Alffenaar; Fernando Álvarez-Navascués; Mourtala Mohamed Assao-Neino; Pascale Valérie Bernard; Joshua Sorba Biala; François-Xavier Blanc; Elena M. Bogorodskaya; Sergey Borisov; Danilo Buonsenso; Marianne Calnan; Paola Francesca Castellotti; Rosella Centis; Jeremiah Muhwa Chakaya; Jin-Gun Cho; Luigi Ruffo Codecasa; Lia D'Ambrosio; Justin Denholm; Martin Enwerem; Maurizio Ferrarese; Tatiana Galvão; Marta García-Clemente; José-María García-García; Gina Gualano; José Antonio Gullón-Blanco; Sandra Inwentarz; Giuseppe Ippolito; Heinke Kunst; Andrei Maryandyshev, Mario Melazzini, Fernanda Carvalho de Queiroz Mello, Marcela Muñoz-Torrico; Patrick Bung Njungfiyini; Domingo Juan Palmero; Fabrizio Palmieri; Pavilio Piccioni; Alberto Piubello; Adrian Rendon; Josefina Sabriá; Matteo Saporiti; Paola Scognamiglio; Samridhi Sharma; Denise Rossato Silva; Mahamadou Bassirou Souleymane; Antonio Spanevello; Eva Tabernero; Marina Tadolini; Michel Eke Tchangou; Alice Boi Yatta Thornton; Simon Tiberi; Zarir F. Udwadia; Giovanni Sotgiu; Catherine Wei Min Ong; Delia Goletti


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2020;26(11):2709-2712. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Coronavirus disease has disrupted tuberculosis services globally. Data from 33 centers in 16 countries on 5 continents showed that attendance at tuberculosis centers was lower during the first 4 months of the pandemic in 2020 than for the same period in 2019. Resources are needed to ensure tuberculosis care continuity during the pandemic.


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has affected clinical management of tuberculosis (TB) and TB-related services.[1,2] Reports of the first cohorts of patients with COVID-19 and TB have been recently published,[3,4] although it may be difficult to distinguish which infection occurred first.[5] The effects of COVID-19 on TB diagnostic and programmatic activities are similar.[1] Almost every country has national TB programs in place, whereas national programs for COVID-19 are urgently needed.[1,2]

The effect of COVID-19 on TB services is estimated to be dramatic, especially in countries where healthcare staff involved in TB management have been reassigned to the COVID-19 emergency. However, apart from local studies,[6] a comprehensive, multinational description is needed.

The Global Tuberculosis Network, which conducted this study, collaborates with TB centers from 41 countries.[3,4,6,7] We studied patient attendance at TB centers in 16 countries and compared the volume of TB-related healthcare activities in the first 4 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, January–April 2020, with that for the same period in 2019.