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How to Distinguish a Tuberculosis Cough from Covid-19?


KOMPAS.com – Tuberculosis (TB) in Indonesia ranks third in the world, after India and China.

Indonesia accounts for 824,000 new cases and 93,000 deaths per year, equivalent to 11 deaths per hour.

TB disease is caused by bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This disease most often attacks the lungs, but there are other organs of the body that can also be affected by tuberculosis, such as the spine, lymph nodes, skin, kidneys, and the lining of the brain.

Also read: Tuberculosis: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

Lung Specialist Dr. Erlina Burhan, Sp.P (K) said, for patients diagnosed with TB disease, they must carry out treatment therapy until completion.

“Treatment (TB patients) must be completed,” said Erlina in a webinar held by the Indonesian Lung Doctors Association (PDPI), Wednesday (23/3/2022).

Erlina explained, there are several symptoms to watch out for as tuberculosis, with the most reported symptom being cough in the long term.

In addition, symptoms of TB infection include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, fever for a long period of time, weakness, weight loss, night sweats, and decreased appetite.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of patients with infections from the corona virus also reported coughing symptoms. This makes a cough from a Covid-19 infection and tuberculosis a little vague to tell the difference.

So, how to distinguish TB cough with Covid-19?

According to Erlina, a cough caused by tuberculosis is different from a cough from a Covid-19 infection.

He explained that coughs due to TB infection are usually phlegm, while coughs that arise from Covid-19 infection are dry coughs.

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“Differentiate it from Covid-19, dry cough Covid-19, cough TB ​​phlegm,” he said.

Erlina stressed that normal or healthy people will not have a cough, so if a person coughs continuously, it can lead to a disease.

“If you have a persistent cough there should be a disease, generally people normally don’t cough,” he said.

If the cough disappears, he continued, repeated for more than two weeks, then it is possible to be exposed to TB.

“Ask for other symptoms such as drowning, decreased appetite, weight loss,” said Erlina.

Read also: Ministry of Health says Tuberculosis in Indonesia is in the top 3 most cases in the world

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