Secular trends of tuberculosis in western Europe

Bull World Health Organ. 1993;71(3-4):297-306.


Deaths due to tuberculosis have decreased uniformly in all countries in Western Europe, and most have occurred among those aged > or = 65 years. In recent years, tuberculosis case notifications have continued to decline in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, and Spain, and have levelled off in Sweden and the United Kingdom; increases have, however, been recorded in Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. In Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland an increasing number of cases of tuberculosis among foreign-born residents has resulted in a change from the expected downward trend. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection appears to contribute only marginally to the overall tuberculosis morbidity; however, it appears to be important in Paris and its surrounding areas, and tuberculosis is very common among HIV-infected persons in Italy and Spain. Despite these recent changes in the incidence of tuberculosis, there is currently no evidence of its increased transmission among the youngest age groups of the indigenous populations. Properly designed disease surveillance systems are critical for monitoring the tuberculosis trends so that each country can identify its own high-risk groups and target interventions to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease. Tuberculosis remains a global disease and because of increasing human migrations, its elimination in Western Europe cannot be envisaged without concomitant improvements in its control in high-incidence, resource-poor countries.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / epidemiology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / etiology
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Population Dynamics
  • Population Surveillance
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Tuberculosis / complications
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis / mortality