Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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Tuberculosis (TB) surveillance commonly focuses on pulmonary (PTB) where the main organ affected is the lung. This might lead to underestimate extrapulmonary TB (EPTB) forms, where in addition to the lung other sites are affected by TB. In Germany, TB notification data provide the main site and the secondary site of disease. To gain an overview of all the different EPTB forms, we analysed German TB notification data between 2002 and 2009 using information on both main and secondary disease site to describe all individual EPTB forms. Further, we assessed factors associated with meningitis using multivariable logistic regression. Solely analysing the main site of disease, lead to one third of EPTB manifestations being overlooked. Case characteristics varied substantially across individual extrapulmonary forms. Of 46,349 TB patients, 422 (0.9%) had meningitis as main or secondary site. Of those, 105 (25%) of the 415 with available information had died. Multivariable analysis showed that meningitis was more likely in children younger than five years and between five and nine years-old (odds ratio (OR): 4.90; 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.40-7.07 and OR: 2.65; 95% CI: 1.40-5.00), in females (OR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.17-1.73), and in those born in the World Health Organization (WHO) regions of south-east Asia (OR: 2.38; 95% CI: 1.66-3.43) and eastern Mediterranean (OR: 1.51; 95% CI: 1.02-2.23). Overall, EPTB manifestations, including meningitis, which is often fatal, were underestimated by routine analysis. We thus recommend using all information on disease manifestation generated by surveillance to monitor severe forms and to transfer the gained knowledge to TB case management where awareness of EPTB is most important. .


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