World Tuberculosis Day is commemorated every year on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. This date marks the discovery of the tuberculosis bacteria by Dr. Robert Koch in the year 1882. Also Read: Tuberculosis: Diagnosis, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

The theme of World TB Day 2020 is “It’s TIME” and in India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Central TB Division – Government of India along with its domestic and international partners is working together to eliminate this deadly disease.

world tb day

As the COVID-19 pandemic arcs throughout the world, it is of utmost importance to gather information as to how the ongoing lethal infection affects a TB patient with ongoing medications. Although there are no concrete proofs or researches, we already know, the coronavirus affects people having severe co-morbid conditions, unfortunately, Tuberculosis ranks quite higher in the comorbidities.

People having HIV diagnosed with either active or dormant form of the TB bacteria are considered as a high risk of getting the COVID-19 virus. Since the patient’s immune system is already compromised, they are much vulnerable to developing the infection. Even patients who are not on medications or have partially recovered from TB pose a threat in getting infected at a much faster pace. Also Read: Coronavirus: All You Need To Know About Home Quarantine Guidelines

Protect Yourself From The Ongoing Deadly Infection. Buy These Sanitisers and Disinfectants Right Away!

Tuberculosis or TB in layman terms is an air-borne infectious disease that is usually caused due to strains of mycobacteria, typically the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. It chiefly affects the lungs apart from infecting other parts of the body and commonly spreads from one person to another through fine respiratory droplets i.e. via coughs or sneezes. The TB bacteria can reside within the body in the active or dormant stage giving the two primary types Active and Dormant TB.

Active Tuberculosis:

Active tuberculosis usually exhibits signs and symptoms and can be both pulmonary and extrapulmonary. If left untreated, the disease can be lethal and ultimately lead to severe complications and even death. The common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills and shiver
  • Loss of appetite
  • General debility
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Night sweats

Latent Tuberculosis:

Found in almost 5-10% of the population, the latent form of TB generally characterises the presence of a TB bacteria in its inactive, dormant form. It is generally non-contagious and doesn’t show any symptoms.

Contrary to popular belief, that TB is a lung-based ailment, there have been researches that prove that there are different types of TB that can affect different organs within the body.

Types Of Tuberculosis:

Pulmonary TB:

This type of TB happens within the lungs and is characterised by:

  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Continuous cough that lasts for 3 and above
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Extrapulmonary TB:

Type of Tb that usually occurs in any other part of the body outside the lungs. It is further subdivided into:

Miliary TB:

It is a lethal form of TB where the bacterial infection spreads throughout the body often affecting the bone marrow, liver, lungs, heart, brain or spinal cord. It is usually characterised by:

Skeletal TB

Type of TB that generally spreads to the spinal column, other bones and joints. Common signs include:

  • Intense back pain
  • Abscess
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Stiffness in the bones and joints
  • Deformities in the bone

TB Lymphadenitis:

Generally, happens on the lymph nodes. Symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Weakness
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Excessive sweating at night

Cutaneous TB

Spread of TB on the outer protective layer and the largest organ of the body, i.e. the skin. Common indications include:

  • Purplish or brownish red, flat painless lesions all over the body
  • Ulcers
  • Abscesses
  • Warts

Liver TB

This type of TB usually spreads from the lungs to the liver, gastrointestinal tract, lymph nodes, or even the hepatic portal vein. It is characterised by:

  • Expansion of the liver
  • High-grade fever
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Jaundice

Genitourinary TB

Being the second most common type of TB, it chiefly affects the kidneys, urinary tract, and genitals. Symptoms of which include:

  • Swelling of the testicles
  • Ulcers on the penis
  • Reduction in semen volume
  • Reduced flow of urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Painful urination
  • Infertility

Gastrointestinal TB

TB affecting the entire gastrointestinal tract. Indications involve:

  • Sudden loss in weight
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea or Constipation

TB Pericarditis

Spread of TB in the protective layer of the heart, i.e. the pericardium. It is usually characterised by:

  • Severe pain in the chest
  • Recurrent fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden palpitations
  • Cough

TB Meningitis

Spread of the tuberculosis bacteria in the meninges, a protective layer surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Light sensitivity
  • Low-grade fever
  • Body aches
  • Loss of coordination
  • General debility

TB Peritonitis

In some rare cases, TB can happen in the peritoneum, a layer that sheaths most of the important organs in the body. Visible signs include:

Risk Factors

The chances of contracting this deadly infection become more viable if the person is already suffering from:

  • Diabetes
  • Different types of cancerous conditions
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Person on chemotherapy or taking immune-suppressive medications


Although still at the experimental level and have to be scientifically proven, there have been early researches that provide some hope that the broad range of anti-retrovirals that are used to treat both TB and HIV patients might have a positive effect on the coronavirus and minimise the damage brought about by the lethal infection. In the case of TB, there is one specific type of anti-retroviral that inhibits the protease enzyme that further blocks the virus from being assembled and synthesized. It is believed the same class of anti-retroviral might prove to be beneficial against the ongoing virus although detailed experimentation and researches are yet to be structured.