Mortality in successfully treated TB patients is an important measure of the efficacy of treatment. However, there is no routine monitoring of TB patients after treatment completion to understand what happens to them after successful treatment for tuberculosis. We recently did a study in rural south Ethiopia to measure mortality in TB patients after they completed treatment.
From south Ethiopia, we showed (Datiko and Lindtjørn 2010) that deaths rates after successful TB treatment was higher in TB patients than in the general population. It was especially high in populations with increased risk of HIV infection.
In a study from China, He and colleagues (2010) show that TB patients with multi-drug resistance had high recurrence and death rates four years after treatment with standardized first line drug regimens. They also show that it is not sufficient to document cure only based on conventional smear microscopy at the end of treatment.
Therefore, TB patients, and especially high- risk groups, should be followed for some years after completing the TB treatment
Datiko DG and Lindtjørn B (2010). Mortality in successfully treated tuberculosis patients in southern Ethiopia: retrospective follow-up study Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 14 (7), 1-6
He, G., Xie, Y., Wang, L., Borgdorff, M., van der Werf, M., Fan, J., Yan, X., Li, F., Zhang, X., Zhao, Y., & van den Hof, S. (2010). Follow-Up of Patients with Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis Four Years after Standardized First-Line Drug Treatment PLoS ONE, 5 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010799