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Active TB globally affects over 10 million people each year and accounts for approximately 1.6 million deaths. Since publishing this case report we since have learned that IGRA blood tests are not entirely useful in diagnosing active TB, as IGRA will also pick up cases of latent TB.
Presently, the most useful microbiological method of diagnosis is now widely recognised as the Gene Xpert or Gene Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra, a rapid molecular test for Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance which can be performed on sputum, pleural fluid or CSF. Access to this technology has been widely scaled up in recent years as part of the WHO End TB Strategy and most countries are switching from traditional AFB smears to rapid molecular testing due to reduced costs and demand on laboratory facilities. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also redirected human, diagnostic and financial resources elsewhere and modelling predicts a regression in TB control and increase in mortality from 13% in 2020 to 20% in 2025.