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J Glob Infect Dis. 2011 Jan;3(1):46-55. doi: 10.4103/0974-777X.77296.

Seasonality of tuberculosis.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine, St. Johannes-Hospital, Troisdorf, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study was designed to review previous studies and analyse the current knowledge and controversies related to seasonal variability of tuberculosis (TB) to examine whether TB has an annual seasonal pattern.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

Systematic review of peer reviewed studies identified through literature searches using online databases belonging to PubMed and the Cochrane library with key words "Tuberculosis, Seasonal influence" and "Tuberculosis, Seasonal variation". The search was restricted to articles published in English. The references of the identified papers for further relevant publications were also reviewed.

RESULTS:

Twelve studies conducted between the period 1971 and 2006 from 11 countries/regions around the world (South Western Cameroon, South Africa, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Spain, UK, Ireland, Russia, and Mongolia) were reviewed. A seasonal pattern of tuberculosis with a mostly predominant peak is seen during the spring and summer seasons in all of the countries (except South Western Cameroon and Russia).

CONCLUSIONS:

The observation of seasonality leads to assume that the risk of transmission of M. tuberculosis does appear to be the greatest during winter months. Vitamin D level variability, indoor activities, seasonal change in immune function, and delays in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis are potential stimuli of seasonal tuberculosis disease. Additionally, seasonal variation in food availability and food intake, age, and sex are important factors which can play a role in the tuberculosis notification variability. Prospective studies regarding this topic and other related subjects are highly recommended.

KEYWORDS:

Seasonal influence; Seasonal variation; Tuberculosis

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