Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer - How are we unhealthy? - Tuberculosis

How are we unhealthy?

Tuberculosis

In 2014, 1,568 new and re-treatment cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported in Canada, resulting in a rate of just over 4 per 100,000 population.Footnote 1

Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable bacterial infection that spreads from person to person primarily through the air.Footnote 2

Did you know?

Drug-resistant TB is a major global public health issue. Rates of drug-resistant TB are currently low in Canada.Footnote 3

Over time

The number and rates of new TB cases have been decreasing.Footnote 1

  • 1,612 new or re-treatment cases in 2004 for a rate of 5 per 100,000 population.
  • 1,568 new or re-treatment cases in 2014 for a rate of just over 4 per 100,000 population.

By income

Data at a national level are not available on TB by income. Research has shown that living in a low-income household is one of the risk factors for the transmission of TB.Footnote 4

By sex

In 2014, rates of TB were 5 new or re-treatment cases per 100,000 population for men and 4 per 100,000 population for women.Footnote 1

By age

In 2014, rates of new or re-treated cases of TB were lowest in children and highest in people 75 years and older (see Figure 1)Footnote 1.

Figure 1: Rates of new or re-treatment cases of TB by age group, 2014Footnote 1
Figure 1
Text Equivalent

Bar graph showing the rate of new or re-treatment cases of TB by age group in 2014.

  • Less than 1 year old: 2.9 per 100,000 population
  • 1 to 4 years: 2 per 100,000 population
  • 5 to 14 years: 0.8 per 100,000 population
  • 15 to 24 years: 4.2 per 100,000 population
  • 25 to 35 years: 5.8 per 100,000 population
  • 35 to 44 years: 4.9 per 100,000 population
  • 45 to 54 years: 4.1 per 100,000 population
  • 55 to 64 years: 4 per 100,000 population
  • 65 to 74 years: 4.9 per 100,000 population
  • 75 years and older: 9.3 per 100,000 population

Indigenous populations

In 2014, Indigenous populations made up 4% of the total Canadian population, but accounted for 21% of reported cases of TB. This resulted in a rate of 20 new or re-treatment cases per 100,000 of the Indigenous population.Footnote 1 Rates vary across Indigenous populations. The rate of TB among Inuit is almost 50 times higher than the overall Canadian rate.Footnote 1

Rate of new or retreatment cases of TB, 2014Footnote 1
  Rate per 100,000
First Nations 19
on reserve 20
off reserve 15
Métis 3
Inuit 198
Indigenous (overall) 20
Canada (overall) 4

In 2014, the foreign-born population, which represented approximately 22% of the total Canadian population, accounted for 69% of reported new or re-treatment cases of TB for rate of almost 14 cases per 100,000 population.Footnote 1

International comparison

In 2015, there was an estimated 10 million new cases of TB across the world.Footnote 5 In G7 countries, Canada had the second lowest rate of new cases of TB at just over 4 cases per 100,000 population.Footnote 6 The United States had the lowest rate at 3 per 100,000 population while Japan had the highest at 17 per 100,000 population (see Figure 2)Footnote 6.

Figure 2: Rate of new cases of TB in G7 countries, 2015Footnote 6
Figure 2
Text Equivalent

Bar graph showing the rate of new cases of TB in G7 countries in 2015.

  • Canada: 5.1 per 100,000 population
  • United States: 3.2 per 100,000 population
  • United Kingdom: 10 per 100,000 population
  • France: 8.2 per 100,000 population
  • Germany: 8.1 per 100,000 population
  • Italy: 5.8 per 100,000 population
  • Japan: 17 per 100,000 population

Notes to the reader

  • Annual rates of TB are calculated by using the number of new active and re-treatment cases each year. A re-treatment case occurs when a person who was previously diagnosed with TB has a second diagnosis of TB (i.e., reactivated or new infection). To be considered a re-treatment case, the disease must have been inactive for at least six months between the first and second diagnosis.Footnote 1
  • Indigenous populations consist of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
  • G7 countries include seven of the world's industrialized countries, namely the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada, that form an informal discussion group and economic partnership.

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