School of Medicine, University of Sulaimani, Sulaimaniyah, Iraq,
Kurdistan Institution for Strategic Studies & Scientific Research, Sulaimaniyah, Iraq,
Shar Hospital, Sulaimaniyah, Iraq,
Sulaimani Teaching Hospital,
Center for the Respiratory and Chest Disease Sulaimaniyah, Iraq
Background: Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major public health problem especially in low and middle-income countries. The current study was undertaken to estimate the incidence of the disease and describe its epidemiological characteristics in Iraqi Kurdistan. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study was carried out on cases registered in the directly observed treatment-short course (DOTS) centers in Sulaimaniyah province. Information was collected from the summary reports of all cases registered in 2010 and detailed information was obtained from 307 cases in the main center. Results: During 2010, a total of 530 new and relapsed cases were registered in the DOTS centers amounting to an annual incidence of 31 per 100,000. Over 73% of cases were pulmonary TB and 45% of all cases had positive smear. Most common symptoms were cough (58%), sweating (49%) and fever (48). Almost 43% of patients were diagnosed by direct swab examination, 30% by biopsy and 23% through clinical and radiologic examination. In relation to outcome, 89% of patients were treated successfully, 7% died and 3% defaulted. Mortality rate was 8% in pulmonary infection and 4% in extrapulmonary infection. Old age (65 years and over) was significantly associated with higher odds of death compared to people aged 34 years and younger (OR 6.7, 95% CI 1.3-36.1, P=0.03). Conclusion: The incidence of TB is still high in the Iraqi Kurdistan. The DOTS has been successful in treating the majority of cases but there are areas needing improvement especially record-keeping and patient follow-up during and after treatment.