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Int J Epidemiol. 2000 Jun;29(3):558-64.

Evaluating the impact of tuberculosis control: number of deaths prevented by short-course chemotherapy in China.

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Communicable Disease Control, Prevention and Eradication, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.



Tuberculosis (TB) is still amongst the most important causes of human morbidity and mortality, killing approximately two million people each year. Standard short-course chemotherapy (SSCC) can rapidly control illness and dramatically reduce the chance of death, but the impact of treatment has rarely been evaluated in these terms.


We developed a mathematical model that makes use of routinely-collected data to calculate the number of deaths directly prevented by TB treatment (i.e. excluding those due to reduced transmission). The method was applied to the world's largest TB control programme covering over 500 million people in 12 provinces of China.


Counties which had been enrolled in the programme since 1991 were, by 1997, preventing at least 46% (37-56%) of the TB deaths that would otherwise have occurred. If replicated across the entire TB control programme area, this would amount to 30 000 (range 26 000-59 000) deaths directly prevented each year.


Short-course chemotherapy has substantially reduced TB mortality in half of China. The analytical method described here could be applied to TB control operations in many other countries, and should help to quantify the true burden of tuberculosis alleviated by SSCC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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