The impact of COVID-19 related healthcare disruption on TB testing and notification

Title: The impact of COVID-19 related healthcare disruption on TB testing and notification
Author(s): B. Nolan P. Lyng F. Dennehy S. McDermott S.L. O’Beirne
Institution: St Vincent's University Hospital
Poster: Click to view poster
Category: COVID-19
Abstract: The coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 pandemic has impacted all facets of healthcare with dramatic reductions in outpatient clinic and emergency department attendances. We hypothesised that during the pandemic-related healthcare service disruption, TB testing and diagnosis would be significantly reduced.
In Ireland, COVID-19 cases and healthcare service disruption peaked from March-June. The number of sputa and bronchoalveolar lavage/bronchial washing (BAL/BW) samples submitted to the microbiology laboratory in St. Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH) for TB testing during this period were evaluated and compared to 2019. Separately, monthly AFB notifications to public health services in counties Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare from March to July 2020 were assessed.
From March-June 2020, 102 BAL/BW and 142 sputum samples were submitted for mycobacterial analysis vs 403 and 239 samples respectively during the same period in 2019, a 62% decrease. The rate of AFB notifications was reduced for March/April/May 2020, however notification rates increased in June/July resulting in similar notifications overall for March-July of both years.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic there was a marked reduction in mycobacterial respiratory sample testing at SVUH, and in AFB notifications. However, as restrictions lifted and healthcare services resumed TB notifications increased, remaining overall comparable to same period in 2019.