Surveillance of tuberculosis in Europe

H. L. Rieder, J. M. Watson, M. C. Raviglione, M. Forssbohm, G. B. Migliori, V. Schwoebel, A. G. Leitch, J. P. Zellweger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Consensus-based recommendations have been developed by a Working Group of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Region of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) on uniform reporting of tuberculosis surveillance data in the countries of Europe. A uniform case definition and a minimum set of variables for reporting on each case have been agreed which, when collated on a national basis, will allow comparison of the epidemiology of tuberculosis in different European countries. The Working Group recommends that the case definition includes 'definite' cases, where the diagnosis has been confirmed by culture (or supported by microscopy findings in countries where diagnostic culture facilities are not available), and 'other than definite cases' based on a clinical diagnosis of tuberculosis combined with the intention to treat with a full course of antituberculosis therapy. Both 'definite' and 'other than definite' cases should be notified by physicians and, in addition, laboratories should be required to report 'definite' cases. The minimum set of variables to be collected on each case of tuberculosis should include: date of starting treatment, place of residence, date of birth, gender, and country of origin, to characterize the patient. Recommended disease-specific variables include: site of disease, bacteriological status (microscopy and culture), and history of previous antituberculosis chemotherapy. The minimum set of variables should be collated on all patients and should be as complete as possible. Additional variables may be collected for individual, local or national purposes, but, in general, completeness of reporting on cases is likely to be better if the information requested is kept to a minimum. Timely reporting of cases is essential for appropriate public health action. Cases should be reported to the health authority at the local and/or regional level within I week of starting treatment. Individual-case based information should be reported to the national level by the local or regional level. Feedback to reporters is essential. At the national level, preliminary quarterly reports should be produced and final reports should be published annually.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1104
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1996


  • Europe
  • surveillance
  • tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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