COVID-19 pandemic impacting tuberculosis clinical forms prevalence in Extreme North




pulmonary tuberculosis, COVID-19, Extreme North, Arctic


We analyzed epidemiologic situation for pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) and distribution by clinical forms in newly diagnosed adult cases, among the population of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), during restrictive measures against COVID-19 pandemic. Arctic zone of Yakutia was chosen as a specific region of interest, to show epidemiologic situation for TB in a territory with low population density and limited transport accessibility. Two periods were analyzed: 2 pre-pandemic years versus 2 pandemic years. Stringent infection control measures were followed by substantial decrease in epidemiologic rates for TB, but at the same time had profoundly aggravating effect on timeliness of TB detection. During pandemic, we observed significantly reduced population coverage with preventive screening for TB, and
growth in number of individuals with 2-year or larger gap in undergoing screening for TB. The study showed statistically meaningful escalation in the proportion of new adult cases with advanced forms of TB, and clear statistical correlation between weakened TB detection activities and prevalence of clinical forms of newly diagnosed pulmonary TB.