CDC Data Indicates Decreases in Tuberculosis

Preliminary data published this week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explore the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on tuberculosis (TB) in the United States. Reported TB disease diagnoses decreased 20 percent in 2020 and remained 13 percent lower in 2021 than TB disease diagnoses made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, disease diagnoses typically declined between 1-2 percent each year. The 2020 and 2021 declines, according to the CDC, may be related to factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including a true reduction in incidence as well as delayed or missed TB diagnoses.

For example, the CDC notes efforts to prevention COVID-19, including wearing masks and physically distancing, may have also reduced the spread of TB. Widespread disruptions to health care during the pandemic have also delayed TB diagnoses, and similarities in symptoms between COVID-19 and TB disease may have led to missed TB diagnoses.

Additional information, including the latest data, from the CDC is available here.