TB Statistics - 2020 - deaths, case notifications

The global TB statistics show that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a large drop in the number of people newly diagnosed and reported as having TB.

TB case notifications 2020

In 2020 just 5.8 million people were reported as having developed TB. This is a decrease from 7.1 million in 2019.

TB affects all countries and age groups. Overall in 2020 fifty eight per cent of notifications were of reports of TB in adult males. Thirty five per cent were adult women. Seven per cent were children aged 0-14.

So of the TB cases notified in 2020:

3,381,621 were men

2,040,633 were women

& 408,127 were children.

Case notifications in high burden countries

The 30 high TB burden countries accounted for a large percentage of TB cases notified.

The following eight high burden countries accounted for the following number of notifications.

  • India  1,629,301,
  • Indonesia 384,025,
  • China 624,715,
  • the Philippines 256,541,
  • Pakistan 272,990,
  • Nigeria 135,784,
  • Bangladesh 230,081,
  • South Africa 191,074.

There is more about TB in India, TB in China, TB in Pakistan TB in Nigeria  & TB in South Africa

Estimates of TB burden 2020

The global estimate of the TB burden is a total TB incidence of 9,870,000. See below for more about TB incidence.

In respect of national TB epidemics, the estimated annual number of incident TB cases, relative to population size (the incidence rate), varied widely among countries in 2020.

In 2020 some countries had a low incidence of TB (< 10 cases per 100,000 population per year). For a number of these countries, including the United States, their target is the elimination of TB. There is more about TB in the United States.

There were 150-600 cases per 100,000 population  in a number of the 30 high TB burden countries.

In the Central African Republic there were 540 cases per 100,000 population.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea had 523 cases per 100,000 population.

But there were also several with markedly lower incident rates per capita. These included Brazil, China and the Russian Federation. These had best estimates of 45, 59 and 46 respectively.

I 2020 four hundred thousand cases were notified of TB in children ©Tobias Hofass

In 2020 four hundred thousand cases were notified of TB in children ©Tobias Hofass

In 2019 the TB statistics showed that an estimated one million one hundred and ninety thousand children became ill with TB. There appears to be no more uptodate figure than this.


TB related deaths

TB is the second leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, ranking second to COVID-19.

In 2020 the TB statistics show that there were an estimated total of 1.5 million TB related deaths, 1.3 million among HIV negative people (up from 1.2 million in 2019) and an additional 214,000 among HIV positive people.  People who have both TB and HIV when they die, are internationally classified as having died from HIV. The combined total is back to the level of 2017.

An estimated 205,000 children died of TB in 2019 including children with HIV associated TB. Of these children 194,000 were HIV negative, and 36,000 HIV positive.

Globally in 2019 16% of people who  died were children aged <15 years. The higher share for children compared with their estimated share of cases (12%) suggests poorer acess to diagnosis and treatment.

There is more about deaths from TB  in different countries.

World Health Organisation (WHO) TB statistics

All countries are asked to report their TB figures to the WHO. The people with TB page gives the reported (notified) figures for almost every country in the world.

WHO uses the reported figures to produce estimated TB incidence statistics for each country.

What does TB incidence mean?

TB incidence means the number of people who are estimated to have developed TB in a given period of time, which is normally a year. There will always be various assumptions made in compiling estimates, which is why they can sometimes provide very different figures from the TB statistics based on reported cases. It is estimated figures from WHO that are given on this page.

Declines in TB incidence (the number of people developing TB each year) achieved in previous years have slowed almost to a halt. These impacts are forecast by WHO to be much worse in 2021 and 2022.

What does TB prevalence mean?

TB prevalence refers to the number of people with TB that are present in a particular population at a given time. Prevalence includes newly diagnosed people, plus people who were diagnosed in the past, and people who haven't even been diagnosed. Prevalence is usually, but not always given as a percentage of the population.1“Basic Statistics: About Incidence, Prevalence, Morbidity, and Mortality - Statistics Teaching Tools”, Department of Health, New York State www.health.ny.gov/diseases/chronic/basicstat.htm.  The best estimate of prevalence comes from surveys but because of the cost these are only produced for a limited number of countries.

TB statistics for drug resistant TB

Globally in 2019 there were an estimated 465,000 new cases of  MDR/RR-TB resistant TB.  Drug resistant TB is now an increasing problem in the worldwide control of TB and in the attempts to end TB.

The highest proportions of new and previously treated patients are in several countries of the former Soviet Union (above 25% in new cases and above 50% in previously treated cases).

The three countries with the largest share of the global burden in 2019 were:

  • India (27%),
  • China (14%)
  • the Russian Federation (8%).

Bovine TB statistics

It is estimated that in some developing countries up to ten percent of human tuberculosis is due to bovine TB.

Regional TB statistics

WHO RegionEstimated TB Incidence
Eastern Mediterranean819,000
South-East Asia4,340,000
Western Pacific1,800,000
Global Total9,960,000

TB incidence for “high burden” countries

Of all the countries that report their TB statistics to WHO, there are a group of countries that are referred to as the TB “high burden” countries. These countries have been prioritized at a global level since 2000. In 2015 it was decided by WHO that the group would be revised and there is more about this on the TB high burden countries page.

The following is the estimated burden of TB for each of the 30 countries in the main high TB burden list.

CountryTotal TB Incidence (thousands) Population (thousands)
Central African Republic264,750
DPR Korea13225,700
DR Congo27886,800
Papua New Guinea388,780
Russian Federation73146,000
Sierra Leone237,810
South Africa36058,600
UR Tanzania13758,000
Viet Nam17096,500
Total for High Burden Countries8,6104,880,000

Page Updating

This page was last updated in November 2021.
Author Annabel Kanabus

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