Global epidemiology of tuberculosis: prospects for control

Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2008 Oct;29(5):481-91. doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1085700. Epub 2008 Sep 22.


The burden of tuberculosis (TB) is now very slowly decreasing globally. However, the rate of decline is too slow to reach all the epidemiological impact targets set for 2015. The prospects for reaching the TB elimination target set for 2050 are even bleaker. Implementation of the World Health Organization's Stop TB Strategy is currently lagging behind the envisioned scale-up pace, particularly with regard to TB/HIV collaborative activities and management of drug resistant TB. To ensure long-term TB control there is, first, a need to ensure that all components of the Stop TB Strategy are scaled up according to plans, with special attention to improved access for the poor. However, this may not be enough. Recent analyses suggest that the impact of current efforts to reduce TB incidence is less than expected and that improved diagnostic and curative efforts need to be combined with additional preventive efforts. New and more effective vaccines and drugs for preventive treatment would revolutionize TB control. A stronger focus on prevention would also entail more concerted actions to limit the impact of TB risk factors, including HIV/AIDS, smoking, malnutrition, alcoholism, diabetes, crowded living conditions, and indoor air pollution, which may all contribute a considerable proportion of the global TB burden.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Global Health
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • World Health Organization


  • Antitubercular Agents