Measuring the Global Burden of Tuberculosis

  • I. Onozaki
  • N. Ishikawa
  • D. A. Enarson


There are several ways to measure the burden of TB. Estimated TB incidence and its rate have been utilized as the most popular indicators of TB burden since 1997. According to the WHO’s estimation of the global TB burden, there were 9.2 million new TB cases in 2006 with 1.7 million deaths due to TB. Although the estimated global incidence rate stabilized or began to fall slowly, the number of new cases was still increasing because population growth had a greater effect on the number of cases than did the declining rate of TB.

However, for each individual country, the uncertainty of the incidence estimation became a concern for monitoring and evaluating the progress of the TB situation at the country level. Methods for estimating current burden were reviewed. An important limitation is that the current estimation of the burden, incidence, is mainly based on the notification data from countries and assumption of case detection rate. Very few countries have scientific data to estimate the epidemiological situation and trend. It is essential to strengthen routine recording and reporting systems, and surveillance, to improve the estimates of burden and trend. However, as the current surveillance systems are not always reliable in many countries where TB is common, it is recommended that a prevalence survey be conducted every 5–10 years. Prevalence itself is one of the MDG’s indicators, and survey findings can be utilized to evaluate trends derived from routine surveillance. Combinations of prevalence surveys and notification data might be the best method to measure disease burden. Although a prevalence survey is costly and labour intensive, it may be a great help to a country in improving TB control policy. Surveys made in some countries might help neighbouring countries with similar situations to understand their epidemiological status of TB through interpretation of routine surveillance data. By adding delay analysis, much insight can be gained into the quality and use of TB services.


Chest Radiography Verbal Autopsy Prevalence Survey Delay Analysis Vital Registration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


Anti- Tuberculosis vaccine containing the Bacille de Calmette et Guérin used by the expanded immunization programme worldwide


Case Detection Rate


Disabled Adjusted Life-Years


The brand name of a comprehensive TB control program recommended by the WHO and Stop TB Partnership originated from Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course


High-burden country where the absolute number of TB incident cases is high. 22 HBCs comprise 80% of the Global TB burden


Human Immuno-deficiency Virus


Interferon gamma release assays


 Millennium Development Goals


Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis. TB that is resistant, at a minimum, to the two major anti-TB drugs Rifampicin and Isoniazid


National TB Control Program




World Health Organization


Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, which is MDR but also resistant to any fluoroquinolone and any second-line anti-TB injectables, namely Amikacin, Kanamycin or Capreomycin


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Onozaki
    • 1
  • N. Ishikawa
    • 1
  • D. A. Enarson
    • 2
  1. 1.The Research Institute of TuberculosisJapan Anti-Tuberculosis Association MatsuyamaKiyoseJapan
  2. 2.International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung DiseaseParisFrance

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