The measurement and estimation of tuberculosis mortality

Eline Korenromp, AL Bierrenbach, BG Williams, C Dye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Tuberculosis (TB) ranks among the 10 principal causes of death and disability worldwide, largely on the basis of mortality estimates. These estimates have been derived by a variety of methods, from a limited database. Here we review the data and methods used to measure and estimate TB mortality in adults, assess the strengths and weaknesses of each and suggest ways to improve current mortality statistics. In principle, deaths attributable to TB can be obtained directly front national vital registration (VR) systems. However, only 59 of 213 countries in 2005 (including three in the World Health Organization Africa Region and one in the South-East Asia Region) had VR systems that reported TB deaths, corresponding to just 10% of all estimated deaths attributable to TB. Until comprehensive, national VR systems are established, ail interim solution is to carry out verbal autopsies within sample VR schemes. The number of TB deaths from VR should ultimately converge with deaths recorded in national TB control programmes. At present, deaths in treatment cohorts cover a small subset of a]) estimated TB deaths (<13% In 2006), as deaths are missed among patients who arc never diagnosed, who default or fall treatment, and among patients with untreated recurrent TB or TB sequelae. In contrast, some deaths recorded during treatment arc not due to TB. To ensure convergence between cohort monitoring and VIZ, definitions of causes of death-Including TB as ail associate cause in deaths from human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune-deficiency syndrome-should be standardised, so that both systems adhere to the International Classification of Diseases.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)283-303
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-02-65-01

Cite this