National Tuberculosis Institute, Bangalore: Bull WHO 1974, 51, 473-88.

A rural population of 65,000 belonging to 119 randomly selected villages of Bangalore district was repeatedly examined four times during 1961 to 1968, by tuberculin test, X-ray and sputum examinations, to study the epidemiology of tuberculosis without any active anti-tuberculosis measures. The interval between the first and the fourth examination was 5 years. The coverage of various examinations at different surveys were very high.

The main findings of the study are: Prevalence rate of tuberculous infection in the population was about 30% (among females 25% and males 35%). The overall prevalence rates of infection were fairly constant at all the four surveys, but a steady decrease in the prevalence of infection was observed in the age group 0-24 years. Annual incidence rate of infection on the average was about 1%. During the study period, the incidence of infection showed a decline from 1.63% to 0.8% for all ages combined. Prevalence rate of disease ranged from 337 to 406 per 1,00,000 population during the study period, the highest being at the time of first survey and lowest at the time of third survey. For the younger age group of 5-34 years, the rates showed continuous decrease during the study period. Annual incidence rate of disease ranged from 79 to 132 per 1,00,000 population, highest being between first and second surveys and lowest between second and third surveys. The incidence rate in younger age groups below 35 years showed a decline during the study period. Those with tuberculin test induration of 20mm or more had highest annual incidence rate of disease. The annual incidence rate of bacteriologically confirmed disease in the three radiological groups of population was (i) 185 per 1,00,000 with normal X-rays, (ii) 958 per 1,00,000 with abnormal shadows judged as inactive tuberculous are non-tuberculous and (iii) 4,530 per 1,00,000 with abnormal shadows judged as active or probably active tuberculous but bacteriologically not confirmed. The third group constituted 1% of the total population and contributed 34% of the total incidence cases. In each of the above three radiological groups, the incidence of disease was highest among those with tuberculin test induration of 20mm or more to 1 TU RT 23 with Tween 80. Those with 20mm or more tuberculin test induration in the third radiological group constituted 0.45% of the total population but contributed 27% of the total incidence cases. Incidence rate for males was nearly double that of females. More than half of the new male cases were 35 years of age, whereas more than half the females were below the age of 35 years. Out of 126 cases followed up at three subsequent surveys over a period of 5 years, 49.2% died, 32.5% got cured and 18.3% continued to remain sputum positive. Both death and cure rates were highest during the first one and a half year period.

About 30% of newly detected cases come from population uninfected at an earlier survey. Both infection and disease showed a decline in the younger age group. There was no evidence of an increase in drug resistance among newly diagnosed cases. Incidence of cases showed a higher natural cure. These findings indicate that tuberculosis cases are not a uniform entity. There can be different gradations from the point of view of diagnosis and ability to benefit from treatment. The differences between male and female patients with regard to death and cure rates support this view