ESR welcomes the release of the new Guidelines for Tuberculosis (TB) Control by the Ministry of Health today.

The guidelines, which were developed by national experts and co-ordinated by ESR, update 2010 guidelines, and build on best clinical and public health practice internationally.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies TB as one of the top ten causes of death worldwide.

New Zealand is classified by the WHO as having a low incidence of TB, but the disease is still recognised as a public health threat.

ESR monitors TB on behalf of the Ministry of Health as part of its surveillance of notifiable diseases.

According to the surveillance data, from 2008 to 2017 New Zealand averaged 300 cases per year.

ESR Public Health Physician Jill Sherwood says the Auckland DHB had the highest rates of new cases of TB in 2017 followed by Counties Manukau.

“The data shows TB rates were highest among adults aged 20 -29, however no age is exempt.”

Dr Sherwood says although most TB cases in 2017 were reported in people who were born overseas, among cases born in New Zealand, Maori experience a higher rate of disease.

ESR surveillance shows that antimicrobial resistant TB is an additional threat, especially among cases born overseas.

Dr Ayesha Verrall who co-ordinated the writing of the guidelines for ESR, says significant effort is currently applied throughout the health sector in identifying and treating TB, investigating and managing case contacts, and in preventing the spread of the disease.

 “The guidelines is a distillation of the evidence on best practice which will support the system to know where our future efforts are going to be best placed”.

Find the new TB guidelines here(external link).

See ESR's TB surveillance reports here(external link).

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