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TB-HIV co-infection in the Netherlands: estimating prevalence and under-reporting in national registration databases using a capture–recapture analysis

Abstract

Background Knowledge of the HIV status in patients with tuberculosis (TB) and vice versa is crucial for proper individual patient management, while knowledge of the prevalence of co-infection guides preventive and therapeutic strategies. The aim of the study was to assess if national disease databases on TB and HIV are adequate sources to provide this information.

Methods A two way capture–recapture analysis to assess the completeness of the registers, and to obtain the prevalence of TB-HIV co-infection in the Netherlands in the years 2002–2012.

Results HIV testing was performed in less than 50% of the patients with TB. Of the 932 TB-HIV infected patients, just 293 (31.4%) were registered in both registers. Under-reporting of TB-HIV co-infection ranged from 50% to 70% in the national TB register, and from 31% to 37% in the HIV database. Prevalence of TB-HIV co-infection in the Netherlands in 2012 was 7.1% (95% CI 6.0% to 8.3%), which was more than double of the prevalence estimated from the national TB database.

Conclusions TB-HIV co-infection is markedly under-reported in national disease databases. There is an urgent need for improved registration and preferably a routine data exchange between the two surveillance systems.

  • PUBLIC HEALTH
  • TUBERCULOSIS
  • SURVEILLANCE

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