The objective of this study was to evaluate the clinical outcome of tuberculosis (TB) with regards to epidemiology, symptoms, delay, diagnostics, use of HIV-test, treatment, treatment outcome and mortality in the North Jutland Region from 2000 through 2008.
The present study is a retrospective study of all new TB cases in the 2000-2008 period.
The period saw a total of 251 TB patients (an average of 28 per year). Almost 60% of the patients were not Danish-born, being mostly from Somalia and Greenland. The mean age was 43 years. 31% were alcohol abusers. 2% had AIDS. Cough was the most frequent symptom followed by weight loss, fever and fatigue. In 78.5% of the cases, it was possible to retrieve a positive culture, 53% had a positive sputum smear. However, in 8% of all patients, it was not possible to isolate Mycobacterium tuberculosis and these cases were diagnosed in accordance with the clinical signs. Almost all patients received the standard treatment comprising four antibiotics. 83% were treated successfully, while 5% ended their treatment prematurely. At the end of the study, 14% were dead. In all, 55% of all patients were HIV-tested. Two tested positive before their TB diagnosis and three after.
The incidence of TB did not seem to decrease over the course of the study period as seen in the rest of Europe. The relatively high rate of alcohol abusers as compared with earlier Danish literature seems to be due to previous underreporting. A treatment success of 83% is high. This first study of HIV testing in Danish TB patients revealed that it was an acceptable result compared with other studies in this field, but the result was not satisfactory because we may miss patients with HIV/TB co-infection when only half of the patients are tested.