Seasonality of active tuberculosis notification from 2005 to 2014 in Xinjiang, China

Atikaimu Wubuli, Yuehua Li, Feng Xue, Xuemei Yao, Halmurat Upur, Qimanguli Wushouer
PloS One 2017, 12 (7): e0180226

OBJECTIVES: Xinjiang is one of the highest TB-burdened provinces of China. A time-series analysis was conducted to evaluate the trend, seasonality of active TB in Xinjiang, and explore the underlying mechanism of TB seasonality by comparing the seasonal variations of different subgroups.

METHODS: Monthly active TB cases from 2005 to 2014 in Xinjiang were analyzed by the X-12-ARIMA seasonal adjustment program. Seasonal amplitude (SA) was calculated and compared within the subgroups.

RESULTS: A total of 277,300 confirmed active TB cases were notified from 2005 to 2014 in Xinjiang, China, with a monthly average of 2311±577. The seasonality of active TB notification was peaked in March and troughed in October, with a decreasing SA trend. The annual 77.31% SA indicated an annual mean of additional TB cases diagnosed in March as compared to October. The 0-14-year-old group had significantly higher SA than 15-44-year-old group (P<0.05). Students had the highest SA, followed by herder and migrant workers (P<0.05). The pleural TB cases had significantly higher SA than the pulmonary cases (P <0.05). Significant associations were not observed between SA and sex, ethnic group, regions, the result of sputum smear microcopy, and treatment history (P>0.05).

CONCLUSION: TB notification in Xinjiang shows an apparent seasonal variation with a peak in March and trough in October. For the underlying mechanism of TB seasonality, our results hypothesize that winter indoor crowding increases the risk of TB transmission, and seasonality was mainly influenced by the recent exogenous infection rather than the endogenous reactivation.

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