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The Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Tuberculosis Epidemic: A Modelling Analysis
24 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020More...
Background: Routine services for tuberculosis (TB) are being disrupted by stringent lockdowns against the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. We sought to estimate the potential long-term epidemiological impact of such disruptions on TB burden in high-burden countries, and how this negative impact could be mitigated.
Methods: We adapted mathematical models of TB transmission in three high-burden countries (India, Kenya and Ukraine) to incorporate lockdown-associated disruptions in the TB care cascade. The anticipated level of disruption reflected consensus from a rapid expert consultation. We modelled the impact of these disruptions on TB incidence and mortality over the next five years, and also considered potential interventions to curtail this impact.
Results: Even temporary disruptions can cause long-term increases in TB incidence and mortality. We estimated that a 3-month lockdown, followed by 10 months to restore normal TB services, would cause, over the next 5 years, an additional 1.65 million TB cases (Crl 1.49– 1.85) and 438,000 TB deaths (CrI 403 – 483 thousand) in India, 41,400 (28,900–62,200) TB cases and 14,800 deaths (10.5 – 19.2 thousand) in Kenya, and 7,960 (6,250 – 9,880) cases and 2,050 deaths (1,610 - 2,360) in Ukraine. However, any such negative impacts could be averted through supplementary “catch-up” TB case detection and treatment, once restrictions are eased.
Interpretation: Lockdown-related disruptions can cause long-lasting increases in TB burden, but these negative effects can be mitigated with targeted interventions implemented rapidly once lockdowns are lifted.
Funding Statement: USAID and Stop TB Partnership.
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Keywords: tuberculosis; mathematical modelling; infectious diseases; Covid-19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation