Extrapulmonary tuberculosis in the European Union and European Economic Area, 2002 to 2011

Euro Surveill. 2013 Mar 21;18(12):20431.


Tuberculosis (TB) is decreasing in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA), but remains a significant public health problem. Although pulmonary TB accounts for the majority of the cases and is the main transmissible form of the disease, extrapulmonary TB also contributes to the burden of disease and does not receive specific attention in international control strategies. We performed a descriptive analysis to assess the burden and trends of extrapulmonary TB in EU/EEA countries. During 2002–11, 167,652 cases of extrapulmonary TB were reported by the 30 Member States. Extrapulmonary TB accounted for 19.3% of all notified cases, ranging from 5.8% to 44.4% among the Member States. Overall, TB notification rates decreased in 2002–11 due to a decrease in pulmonary TB. Notification rates of extrapulmonary TB remained stable at 3.4 per 100,000 in 2002 and 3.2 per 100,000 in 2011. Thus the proportion of extrapulmonary TB increased from 16.4% in 2002 to 22.4% in 2011. Of all extrapulmonary TB cases reported during 2002–11, 37.9% were foreign-born or citizens of another country, 33.7% were culture-confirmed, and the overall treatment success was 81.4%. A significant percentage of notified TB cases are extrapulmonary, and in contrast to pulmonary TB, extrapulmonary TB rates are not decreasing.

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Disease Notification / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • European Union / statistics & numerical data*
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Population Surveillance
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / transmission
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology