Heterogeneous impact of Covid-19 response on tuberculosis burden by age group

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Apart from the incidence and mortality caused by it, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has had a significant impact on other diseases. This study aimed to estimate the influences of COVID-19 pandemic on the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) and the number of TB-associated deaths in Republic of Korea. A dynamic compartment model incorporating age-structure was developed for studying TB transmission and progression using the Korean population data. After calibration with notification of incidence data from South Korea, the TB burden over 6 years (2020–2025) was predicted under the nine different scenarios. Under the scenario of strong social distancing and low-level health service disruption, new TB cases were reduced by 761 after 1 year in comparison to the baseline. However, in the elderly population, social distancing had little impact on TB incidence. On the other hand, the number of TB-related deaths mainly depends on the level of health service disruption for TB care. It was predicted that with a high degree of health service disruption, the number of TB-related deaths would increase up to 155 in 1 year and 80 percent of the TB-related deaths would be in the elderly population. The decrease of tuberculosis incidence is significantly affected by social distancing, which is owing to reduction of contacts. The impact of health service disruption is dominant on TB-related deaths, which occurs mainly in the elderly. It suggests that it is important to monitor TB-related deaths by COVID-19 because the TB burden of the elderly is high in the Republic of Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13773
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

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