Although the total number appears to be decreasing, 7,886 new cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported in Germany in 2001. Previous American publications reveal considerable differences in the costs caused by the disease. On the basis of the therapy guidelines of the Deutsches Zentralkomitee zur Bekampfung der Tuberkulose (DZK), this study estimates the mean direct outpatient and combined in- and outpatient costs of lung TB, together with the indirect costs of the disease on the basis of the most recent official health statistics. According to this, the mean outpatient costs per case were <euro>1,226 (adults) and <euro>785 (children under 15 years of age). The mean combined inpatient/outpatient costs ranged from <euro>14,301 (adults) to <euro>16,634 (children). These are joined by the mean costs of sick benefit amounting to <euro>2,088. The mean indirect costs per case were <euro>2,461. Consistent implementation of the recommendations of the German DZK is still necessary in order to reduce the significant economic impact of TB disease resulting in high health and socioeconomic costs.