01 January 1998
Tuberculosis in Europe: another step forward for international surveillance
Citation style for this article: Editorial team. Tuberculosis in Europe: another step forward for international surveillance. Euro Surveill. 1998;3(1):pii=123. Available online: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=123
Date of submission:
|Tuberculosis in Europe: another step forward for international
|Spurred on by the reversal or slowing of the decline in tuberculosis incidence
in many countries, the threat of the emergence of multidrug resistant strains
of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and possibly by the success of international
AIDS surveillance, European collaborators have completed a pilot study (reported
in this issue) of the feasibility of standardising tuberculosis surveillance.
Although the case definitions used within countries differ, these differences
are unlikely to account for the large variations in the incidence of tuberculosis
between countries, ranging in 1995 from 3 per 100 000 in Malta to 102/100
000 in Romania. Equally large differences between countries were observed
for the proportions of cases who had been born abroad. The establishment
of surveillance for Europe as a whole is likely to strengthen national tuberculosis
reporting systems and enable multidrug resistance and the relative effectiveness
of control programmes to be monitored closely. When standardised case specific
data are shared routinely more sophisticated analyses will be possible,
which should enable prevention policies to be selected that will hasten
the elimination of the captain of all these men of death.
Rumours, myths, and inappropriate public health responses thrive on poor
quality data. Once clinical, laboratory, demographic, and relevant risk
factor data on each affected person become available, patterns may start
to emerge about which hypotheses can be generated and tested. Whether
managing a local outbreak or the international surveillance of an important
infection, the 'line listings' of data items about individual cases are
an indispensable scientific tool. Information obtained by collating tables
that summarise national data is never as rewarding as that derived through
assembling relevant data on each case in a large though simple database.
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