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Swiss Med Wkly. 2002 Sep 7;132(35-36):517-22.

Outcome of treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis in Switzerland in 1996.

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Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, Bern.



Adequate treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis cures patients and reduces transmission. The study assesses treatment outcomes under current conditions in Switzerland.


Retrospective cohort study including all TB cases with positive sputum cultures notified to the national surveillance system between July 1996 and June 1997. Ten months after notification, treating physicians reported the outcomes using WHO categories.


Of 265 patients, 209 (79%) completed at least 6 months' treatment, 3 (1%) were treatment failures, 23 (9%) died, 8 (3%) defaulted from treatment and 22 (8%) left the country. The proportion of successful treatments did not significantly differ between the 103 Swiss-born (80%) and the 162 foreign-born (78%) patients. There were 19 deaths (18%) in the Swiss-born and 4 (2%) in the foreign-born groups; death was caused by TB in two patients, 10 died of other causes (cause unknown in 11). In the foreign-born group there were 31 (19%) potentially unsatisfactory outcomes (treatment failure, default from treatment, transfer abroad) and in the Swiss-born group 2 (2%). Default from treatment involved 8 patients, 6 of whom were asylum seekers. In a multivariate analysis potentially unsatisfactory outcomes were not significantly associated with foreign origin but with status as a foreigner of irregular or unknown legal status (adj. OR 8.8; 95% CI 1.4 to 53.7).


Overall treatment success rates are satisfactory and similar to those of other western European countries. Potentially unsatisfactory outcomes are more common in foreign-born persons of irregular legal status. Tracking of non-adherent patients by health workers could further improve outcomes.

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