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Environ Health Prev Med. 2005 Jul;10(4):213-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02897713.

Japan's national tuberculosis control strategies with economic considerations.

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  • 1Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University, Yoshida, Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, 606-8501, Kyoto, Japan.


We made a bibliographic search for Japanese and non-Japanese literature on tuberculosis control programs to study the current public health policies for tuberculosis control in Japan especially in regard to cost-effectiveness. Then, we compared the Japanese, strategies for tuberculosis control with those in other countries including the United States, and those recommended by World Health Organization (WHO). The current trend of tuberculosis incidence in the Japanese community demonstrates major differences from the situation that had prompted installation of tuberculosis control measures several decades ago. The tuberculosis control measures should be targeted to the elderly people (over 65 years old) because of the following three aspects. (1) A continuing decline of tuberculosis in the young Japanese population, particularly children who might attain benefits from BCG immunization; (2) The enhancement of the prevalence among the elderly people who are not covered by a uniform national surveillance strategy; (3) Cost-ineffectiveness of Mass Miniature Radiography (MMR) being used as a means to screen for tuberculosis. The cost-effectiveness issue must be considered more seriously, and the WHO recommendations especially in regard with the DOTS (directly-observed treatment, short course) strategy need to be incorporated more effectively into the national program since the incidence of drug resistant tuberculosis in Japan has been recently increasing. Finally, we propose to limit BCG immunization further and to discontinue annual MMR in the young population, and instead to develop effective strategies of both active and passive case finding in the elderly through public and community health services.


BCG immunization; active case-finding (AFC); mass miniature radiography (MMR); sputum smear examination; tuberculosis (TB)

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