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J Korean Med Sci. 2012 May;27(5):525-31. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2012.27.5.525. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Diagnostic accuracy of notified cases as pulmonary tuberculosis in private sectors of Korea.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.


The diagnostic accuracy of the data reported in the Korean tuberculosis surveillance system (KTBS) has not been adequately investigated. We reviewed the clinical data of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases notified from private medical facilities through KTBS between January and June, 2004. PTB cases were classified into definite (culture-proven), probable (based on smear, polymerase chain reaction, histology, bronchoscopic finding, computed tomography, or both chest radiograph and symptoms) or possible (based only on chest radiograph) tuberculosis. Of the 1126 PTB cases, sputum AFB smear and culture were requested in 79% and 51% of the cases, respectively. Positive results of sputum smear and culture were obtained in 43% and 29% of all the patients, respectively. A total of 73.2% of the notified PTB cases could be classified as definite or probable and 81.7% as definite, probable, or possible. However, where infection was not confirmed bacteriologically or histologically, only 60.1% of the patients were definite, probable, or possible cases. More than 70% of PTB notified from private sectors in Korea can be regarded as real TB. The results may also suggest the possibility of over-estimation of TB burden in the use of the notification-based TB data.


Diagnosis; Electronic Notification; Korea; Private Sector; Tuberculosis

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