TB incidence increasing in Denmark

The Statens Serum Institut recently noted that tuberculosis cases in Denmark are increasing, particularly among immigrants and residents of Greenland or immigrant descent, and suggested the TB prevention plan within the country may need revision.

The presence of TB in Denmark has steadily increased since 2009. In 2012, the country saw the highest incidence of TB in five years. Most cases occurred with immigrants residing in Denmark, while the prevalence of TB in persons native to Denmark remained unchanged.

TB was most common in the population of Greenland immigrants to Denmark, which even surpassed the rate of TB infection in Greenlanders residing in Greenland. While it has not yet been confirmed, the data suggests that patients infected with TB in Denmark were infected within the country, not in their country of origin or during travel.

Researchers found a link between a TB culture from 1992 and that of 2012, which suggests the chain of infection continued growing and caused some of the more recent outbreaks. Most infections manifested as standard TB, but a few drug-resistant strains were reported.

Denmark saw one case of multi-drug resistant TB in 2012. In 2013, the country saw its first extensively drug-resistant TB in an immigrant from one of the former republics of the Soviet Union. MDR-TB and XDR-TB are most common among patients who received previous treatment for TB.

The Statens Serum Institut suggested Denmark review its TB control and prevention methods, since the country has the highest incidence of TB among all Scandinavian countries.