To increase the focus on tuberculosis control, the European disease control agency ECDC has established a web site “Spotlight Tuberculosis.”
Tuberculosis (TB) is a huge international health problem. In 2009, the WHO estimates that nearly 10 million people had tuberculosis, i.e. 137 cases per 100 000 inhabitants. Approximately 4.3 million of these cases occurred in 22 countries with a particularly high burden of tuberculosis. These are developing countries in Africa and Asia. In Africa, co-infection with HIV and TB is a major problem, resulting in high morbidity and high mortality. In parts of Asia and the former Soviet Union, the proportion of people infected with resistant bacteria (multidrug-resistant TB) is a major problem. This results in prolonged and expensive treatment. In some countries, there is limited access to sufficient and essential medicines of good quality.
Few TB cases contracted in Norway
In Norway, the number of tuberculosis cases has increased slightly since the middle of the 1980s to date. The proportion of Norwegian-born patients is falling and is now below 10 per cent of those who become ill. The proportion of patients born outside Norway is increasing due to immigration from countries with high incidence of tuberculosis. Most of them were infected in their country of origin as children or adolescents. Our surveillance shows that the vast majority of immigrants who become ill with tuberculosis in Norway are infected before arrival. The number of new cases in Norway is very low, both in the Norwegian-born population and the immigrant population. This shows that we have a good and effective tuberculosis control, with adequate and good quality care.
More on the situation in Europe
ECDC’s Spotlight website contains key data on the TB situation in the EU / EFTA countries, an information video with comments from an expert from ECDC, and a video showing a graphical presentation of the TB situation.