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Eur Respir J. 2016 Dec;48(6):1571-1581. doi: 10.1183/13993003.00956-2016. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

Mandatory tuberculosis case notification in high tuberculosis-incidence countries: policy and practice.

Author information

Global TB Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
Johns Hopkins Clinical Trials Unit, BJ Medical College, Pune, India.
US Agency for International Development, Washington, DC, USA.
Global TB Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
World Health Organization Regional Office for Americas, Washington DC, USA.
Fondazione S. Maugeri Care and Research Institute, Tradate, Italy.


Mandatory tuberculosis (TB) notification is an important policy under the End TB Strategy, but little is known about its enforcement especially in high TB incidence countries. We undertook a literature search for selected high-incidence countries, followed by a questionnaire-based survey among key informants in countries with high-, intermediate- and low-TB incidence. Published literature on TB notification in high-incidence countries was limited, but it did illustrate some of the current barriers to notification and the importance of electronic systems to facilitate reporting by private providers. Required survey data were successfully gathered from 40 out of 54 countries contacted. TB is notifiable in 11 out of 15 high-incidence countries, all 16 intermediate-incidence countries, and all nine low-incidence countries contacted. TB case notification by public sector facilities is generally systematised, but few high-incidence countries had systems and tools to facilitate notification from private care providers. In the context of the new End TB Strategy aimed at eventual TB elimination, all countries should have TB on their national list of notifiable diseases. Enhancing the ease of notification by private providers is essential for effective implementation. To that effect, investing in strengthening disease surveillance systems and introducing digital tools to simplify notification are logical ways forward.

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