Last reviewed 01/2018

Some information concerning the prognosis in pulmonary tuberculosis is given below:

  • the worldwide mortality is 25-30%
  • in the UK the mortality is 5%
  • mortality is highest in the socially disadvantaged
  • proper chemotherapy provides a cure in almost all immunocompetent patients
  • relapse rate is 1-2%; the rate is highest amongst poor compliers

Notes (1):

  • between 2003 and 2011, the proportion of cases who were reported to have died at the last reported outcome among all drug sensitive TB cases (including those with CNS, spinal, miliary or cryptic disseminated TB) decreased year on year, from 6.5% to 5.0%
    • in 2012 the proportion remained stable at 5.0% (432/8,630 respectively)
    • in 2012, TB caused or contributed to 32.4% (140/432) of deaths, was incidental to death in 22.7% (98/432), and the relationship between TB and death was unknown in 44.9% (194/432)
      • among those reported to have died, 17.4% (75/432) were diagnosed post mortem. The majority of those who died were 65 years or older (64.6%, 279). More than two thirds of those who died were male (69.4%, 300)
      • by site of disease, death occurred most frequently in those with miliary TB (18.4%, 39/212), and CNS TB (CNS meningitis 15.3%, 29/189 and CNS other 11.5, 16/139)
    • excluding those diagnosed post mortem, the median time to death after starting treatment was 36 days (range 0-504 days); 61.4% of these cases (135/220) died within two months of starting treatment


  • Public Health England. Tuberculosis in the UK 2014 report