Missed TB diagnoses during COVID-19 outbreaks despite prolonged respiratory symptoms

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

Three cases of missed TB diagnoses in 2020 in the US state of Washington are reported in an advance print publication of CID. The cases were identified as part of a public heath intervention including interviews and retrospective case note review.

Although some delays were partly due to reluctance to seek care during COVID-19 outbreaks, all three cases included failure to test for TB, even with prolonged respiratory symptoms, and after multiple negative tests for SARS-CoV-2 (13 times in one case).

The cases were three women (in their late teens, fifties and eighties) who were originally from high incidence TB countries.

The paper details the timeline for missing TB during outbreaks of COVID-19 and stresses the importance of also considering dual infection.


Narita M et al. Delayed tuberculosis diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 — King County Washington. Clinical Infectious Diseases, ciab387, doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab387. (06 May 2021).

This report was first posted on 9 May 2021.

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