Completeness of tuberculosis case notifications in Germany in 2013–2017: first results of an inventory study
Background Evaluating the completeness of tuberculosis (TB) notification data is important for monitoring of TB surveillance systems. We conducted an inventory study to calculate TB underreporting in Germany in 2013–2017. Methods Acquisition of two pseudonymized case-based data sources (national TB notification data and antibiotic resistance surveillance data) was followed by two-source Capture-recapture (CRC) analysis, as case-based data from a third source was unavailable. Aggregated data on consumption of a key anti-TB drug (pyrazinamide [PZA]) was compared to an estimated need for PZA based on TB notification data to obtain an independent underreporting estimation. Additionally, notified TB incidence was compared to TB rate in an aggregated health insurance fund dataset. Results CRC and PZA-based approaches indicated that between 93 and 97% (CRC) and between 91 and 95% (PZA) of estimated cases were captured in the national TB notification data in the years 2013–2017. Insurance fund dataset did not indicate TB underreporting on the national level in 2017. Conclusions Our results suggest that more than 90% of estimated TB cases are captured within the German TB surveillance system, and accordingly the TB notification rate is likely a good proxy of the diagnosed TB incidence rate. An increase in underreporting and discrepancies however should be further investigated.
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