We investigated the epidemiology and prevalence of potential risk factors of tuberculosis (TB) recurrence in a population-based registry cohort of 8084 TB cases between 1995 and 2013.
An episode of recurrent TB was defined as a case re-registered in the National Infectious Disease Register at least 360 days from the date of the initial registration. A regression model was used to estimate risk factors for recurrence in the national cohort. To describe the presence of known risk factors for recurrence, patient records of the recurrent cases were reviewed for TB diagnosis confirmation, potential factors affecting the risk of recurrence, the treatment regimens given and the outcomes of the TB episodes preceding the recurrence.
TB registry data included 84 patients, for whom more than 1 TB episode had been registered. After a careful clinical review, 50 recurrent TB cases (0.6%) were identified. The overall incidence of recurrence was 113 cases per 100,000 person-years over a median follow up of 6.1 years. For the first 2 years, the incidence of recurrence was over 200/100000. In multivariate analysis of the national cohort, younger age remained an independent risk factor at all time points, and male gender and pulmonary TB at 18 years of follow-up. Among the 50 recurrent cases, 35 patients (70%) had received adequate treatment for the first episode; in 12 cases (24%) the treating physician and in two cases (4%) the patient had discontinued treatment prematurely. In one case (2%) the treatment outcome could not be assessed.
In Finland, the rate of recurrent TB was low despite no systematic directly observed therapy. The first 2 years after a TB episode had the highest risk for recurrence. Among the recurrent cases, the observed premature discontinuation of treatment in the first episode in nearly one fourth of the recurrent cases calls for improved training of the physicians.
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