Trends in tuberculosis incidence and their determinants in 134 countries
C Dye, K Lönnroth, E Jaramillo, BG Williams & M Raviglione
To determine whether differences in national trends in tuberculosis incidence are attributable to the variable success of control programmes or to biological, social and economic factors.
We used trends in case notifications as a measure of trends in incidence in 134 countries, from 1997 to 2006, and used regression analysis to explore the associations between these trends and 32 measures covering various aspects of development (1), the economy (6), the population (3), behavioural and biological risk factors (9), health services (6) and tuberculosis (TB) control (7).
The TB incidence rate changed annually within a range of ±10% over the study period in the 134 countries examined, and its average value declined in 93 countries. The rate was declining more quickly in countries that had a higher human development index, lower child mortality and access to improved sanitation. General development measures were also dominant explanatory variables within regions, though correlation with TB incidence trends varied geographically. The TB incidence rate was falling more quickly in countries with greater health expenditure (situated in central and eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean), high-income countries with lower immigration, and countries with lower child mortality and HIV infection rates (located in Latin America and the Caribbean). The intensity of TB control varied widely, and a possible causal link with TB incidence was found only in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the rate of detection of smear-positive cases showed a negative correlation with national incidence trends.
Although TB control programmes have averted millions of deaths, their effects on transmission and incidence rates are not yet widely detectable.