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Tuberculosis Incidence and Case Notification Rates in Kosovo and the Balkans in 2012: Cross-country Comparison

Xhevat Kurhasani, Hasan Hafizi, Ervin Toci, Genc Burazeri.

Abstract
Aim: Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a considerable burden especially for millions of young adults and disadvantaged people worldwide. The TB incidence and notification rates are good indicators of TB situation in a country. Our aim was to compare TB incidence and notification rates in Kosovo and in seven other Balkan countries. Methods: Retrospective epidemiologic analysis of published data on TB incidence and notification rates in eight Balkan countries in 2012. Notification rates were expressed per 100,000 inhabitants and were calculated based on the number of TB cases reported divided by the population of each country under analysis. Results: The TB incidence in Kosovo (47/100,000) was considerably higher compared to its four neighboring countries: Albania (16/100,000), Macedonia, Montenegro (18/100,000) and Serbia (23/100,000). The TB notification rates in Kosovo and other countries closely mimicked the incidence rates in these countries. Conclusion: The exceptionally high TB incidence rate in Kosovo could be due to many factors including low health and medical-seeking behaviors of the local population, poverty and low education levels. Effective interventions should be adapted to the local context in order to increase the chances of success.

Key words: Kosovo, TB incidence, TB notification rates.


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