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 burden 2020
In 2020 an estimated 9.9 million people fell ill with TB.
Globally the number of people newly diagnosed with TB, and reported to national governments, dropped from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020.
The countries that contributed most to the global drop between 2019 and 2020 were India (41%), Indonesia (14%), the Philippines (12%) and China (8%).
TB not only affects all countries but also all age groups. Overall in 2020 fifty six per cent of notifications were of reports of TB in adult males. Thirty three per cent were adult women. Eleven per cent were children aged 0-14.
In 2020 most TB cases were in the WHO regions of South-East Asia (43%), Africa (25%) and the Western Pacific (18%). There were smaller numbers in the Eastern Mediterranean (8.3%), the Americas (3.0%) and Europe (2.3%).
TB Incidence in high Burden Countries
The 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 86% of all estimated incidence cases worldwide. Eight of these countries accounted for two thirds of the global total. These were:
India (26%), China (8.5%), Indonesia (8.4%), the Philippines (6.0%), Pakistan (5.8%), Nigeria (4.6), Bangladesh (3.6%) and South Africa (3.3%).
A WHO recommended rapid molecular test was used as the initial diagnostic test for only 1.9 million (33%) of the 5.8 million people newly diagnosed with TB in 2020.
TB related deaths in 2020
There has been an increase in TB deaths in 2020. The increase in TB deaths in 2020 is believed to have resulted from disruptions to diagnosis and treatment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 1.3 million TB related deaths. 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 these 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.
Declines in TB incidence (the number of people developing TB each year) 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. 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 2020 71% of people diagnosed with bacteriologically confirmed pulmonary TB were tested for rifampicin resistance, up from 61% in 2019.
Among these, 132,222 cases of MDR/RR-TB and 25,681 cases of pre-XDR-TB or XDR-TB were detected, giving a combined total of 157,903.
Worldwide 150,359 people with MDR/RR-TB were enrolled on treatment in 2020 down 15% from the total of 177,100 in 2019.
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 Region||Estimated TB Incidence|
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.
|Country||Total TB Incidence||Rate per 100,000 population
|Central African Republic||26,000||540|
|Papua New Guinea||39,000||441|
This page was last updated in April 2022.
Author Annabel Kanabus
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- “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