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This study aimed to analyze the epidemiology of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and gained insight into the future TB control plan in China.

We extracted epidemiological, clinical, and geographic data from TB prevention and control institutions in 6 cities of Shandong province, China, during 2005 to 2017.

Among 224,480 diagnosed PTB, rural residents accounted for 93%, smear-positive PTB 52%, and new cases 92%. The incidence rate of overall PTB declined from 40.8 to 26.25 per 100,000 during 2005 to 2017. Except smear-negative PTB (7.57-19.87 per 100,000), the incidence of smear-positive PTB and all that stratified by age, sex, and treatment history decreased. With 80% reduction, the incidence of smear-positive PTB (6.38 per 100,000) and relapse cases (1.01 per 100,000) were already very low in 2017.

With persistent efforts to combat TB, the disease burden had shifted from smear-positive PTB to smear-negative PTB. While new cases need continuous attention, further reducing the incidence of smear-negative PTB and elderly patients may have a greater impact on future TB control.

Copyright (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.