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COVID-19 and Tuberculosis: Mathematical Modeling of Infection Spread Taking into Account Reduced Screening.

Diagnostics 2024 March 27
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cessation of many tuberculosis (TB) support programs and reduced screening coverage for TB worldwide. We propose a model that demonstrates, among other things, how undetected cases of TB affect the number of future M. tuberculosis ( M. tb ) infections. The analysis of official statistics on the incidence of TB, preventive examination coverage of the population, and the number of patients with bacterial excretion of M. tb in the Russian Federation from 2008 to 2021 is carried out. The desired model can be obtained due to the fluctuation of these indicators in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic reduction in TB interventions. Statistical analysis is carried out using R v.4.2.1. The resulting model describes the dependence of the detected incidence and prevalence of TB with bacterial excretion in the current year on the prevalence of TB with bacterial excretion in the previous year and on the coverage of preventive examinations in the current and previous years. The adjusted coefficient of model determination (adjusted R-squared) is 0.9969, indicating that the model contains almost no random component. It clearly shows that TB cases missed due to low screening coverage and left uncontrolled will lead to a significant increase in the number of new infections in the future. We may conclude that the obtained results clearly demonstrate the need for mass screening of the population in the context of the spread of TB infection, which makes it possible to timely identify patients with TB with bacterial excretion.

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