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Tuberculosis, others to get priority attention – NCDC



The Director-General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said on Tuesday the lessons learnt from the management of the COVID-19 pandemic would help the agency in combating long-neglected respiratory diseases like tuberculosis.

Ihekweazu, who disclosed this to journalists in Abuja, said NCDC also aims to accelerate efforts at tackling the disease in the country.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the detection, diagnosis, and response to other infectious diseases, noting that it provided a real opportunity for change.

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He said the NCDC in collaboration with the ministry of health would ensure that tuberculosis and other respiratory disease continued to be of high priority to the government.

The NCDC chief said: “We have been working very closely with the National TB Programme and other stakeholders to strengthen TB surveillance in Nigeria.”

On the similarities between COVID-19 and tuberculosis, Ihekweazu explained that both could cause respiratory symptoms, cough, and shortness of breath.

“Both can cause fever and weakness. COVID-19 is acute in nature and an index case infects about five contacts within a short time while an index case of tuberculosis infects about 15 people per year.

“Tuberculosis symptoms do not occur immediately after infection and when they develop, they are gradual at the onset, often over a period of weeks or longer, while in COVID-19, symptoms can occur within a few days,” he added.

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