Towards TB elimination: ECDC and ERS introduce new guidelines on tuberculosis care in Europe

April 2, 2012, 9:23 p.m.
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ECDC and the European Respiratory Society (ERS) have developed 21 patient-centred standards that aim to guide clinicians and public health workers in their daily work to ensure optimal diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis (TB) in Europe.

Nearly 74 000 reported TB cases in the EU/EEA in 2010 clearly show that tuberculosis remains a public health challenge across the region.

The European Union Standards for Tuberculosis Care (ESTC) seek to bridge current gaps in the case management of TB that were identified in a recent survey. In the process, the ERS has taken the lead in developing the clinically related standards and ECDC has developed the public health related standards. The ESTC are based on the same recommendations as the International Standards for TB Care (ISTC), but feature additional supplements and replacement information relevant for healthcare providers in the EU.

“Multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB have gained a foothold in the EU: 4.6% of the TB patients were diagnosed with MDR TB in 2010 and only 30% of the MDR TB patients notified in 2008 have been successfully treated and the proportion of XDR TB patients increased from 8.2% to 13.2% from 2009 to 2010 ”, warns ECDC Director Marc Sprenger.

"We have to do better than that and actively prevent drug-resistant TB. To do this, the new EU Standards offer hands-on and easy-to-use advice tailored to the needs of the EU/EEA. It is every TB patient's right to receive the best of care and we have a responsibility towards EU/EEA citizens to prevent any more spread of TB, MDR and XDR TB.”

The publication of the guidelines coincides with the start of a special review series in the ERJ, looking at the current state of TB in Europe. The series begins today with an editorial and paper on the prevalence of inappropriate tuberculosis treatment regimens.

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