Department of Epidemiology and Clinical Research

Overview

The Department of Epidemiology and Clinical Research conducts a wide range of epidemiological and clinical research and work related to tuberculosis (TB) control and national tuberculosis surveillance in Japan. Currently we have 5 research staff, and 2 supporting staff.

Our mission

Our mission is to conduct research and works which contribute to national and global efforts in fighting TB.

Our strategy

Our mission

The Department’s three areas of activity are research, development of monitoring tools, and international cooperation.

  • Research: aside from epidemiological research, we also perform operational research, policy studies, and molecular epidemiology studies. Some of our current research topics include smoking and TB, TB among the elderly, TB among the prison population, and TB among foreign-born persons.
    Find out more on our research projects here: Research projects by themes.
  • Development of monitoring tools: we constantly develop and review various indicators to monitor TB control activities at national, prefectural, and local levels.
  • International cooperation: some of our staff are also involved in international projects in countries such as the Philippines and Myanmar.

Organizational Structure

Division of Epidemiological Surveillance

The Division of Epidemiological Surveillance within the Department supports development, improvement and operation of the electronic Japan Tuberculosis Surveillance system (JTBS), by closely working with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The Division also conducts series of analyses of the surveillance data – these are fed-back into action through publishing of monthly and annual statistical reports.

Tuberculosis Surveillance Center

The Department also runs the Tuberculosis Surveillance Center, which is responsible for disseminating our works and other related information, and also for answering enquiries regarding the JTBS and TB statistics, which we receive via phones and through our website.
Find out more: Tuberculosis Surveillance Center

FACTSHEET TUBERCULOSIS IN JAPAN

Tuberculosis in Japan : Annual Report - 2018

Tuberculosis in Japan Annual Report 2017

Tuberculosis in Japan (Tables) zip (Excel)

Tuberculosis in Japan (Figure) (pptx)

read more

What is TB?

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria called “Mycobacterium tuberculosis” and is spread from person to person through air.

B mainly attacks the lungs, but it can also damage any part of the body, such as the brain, kidneys, or spine. TB is curable and preventable, but a person with TB can die without treatment.

The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs include cough, chest pain, and sputum with blood. The general symptoms of TB disease also include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.

TB in Japan

The most recent data show that a total of 16,789 persons with TB disease were newly notified in Japan in 2017 (13.3 cases per 100,000 population). Both the number of newly notified TB patients and rates per 100,000 have continued to decline (Figure 1). Japan’s national target is to reach the notification of below 10 per 100,000 by year 2020 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Number of reported TB patients, 2000-2017

Sex and age distribution

In 2017, 60.6% of the notified TB patients were males and 39.4% were females. The largest number of patients were diagnosed among those aged 80 to 89 years old. The number of patients were consistently higher among males than females in all age groups but 90+ years old (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Number of TB patients by age and sex, 2017

TB among the foreign-born

Information regarding place of birth (Japan-born or foreign-born) was known for 95.7% of the newly notified TB patients (16,063/16,789) in 2017. Of those, 9.5% was born outside Japan (n=1,530). Both the number and the proportion of foreign-born patients have continued to increase.

The largest number of foreign-born TB patients were diagnosed among those aged 20 to 29 years old, followed by those aged 15 to 19 years old. The proportion of foreign-born of the total newly notified TB patients was higher among the younger age group, with the proportion reaching 64.0% among those aged 20-29 years old (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Foreign-born TB patients by age groups, 2017, n=1,530

The Philippines was the most frequent countries of birth for foreign-born TB patients reported in 2017 (n=321, 21.0%), followed by China (n=258, 16.9%), Vietnam (n=257, 16.8%), Nepal (n=164, 10.7%), and Indonesia (n=121, 7.9%) (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Foreign-born TB by country of birth, 2017

MDR TB

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB is a TB disease that is resistant to at least two of the best anti-TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin. MDR TB accounted for 0.7% (52 cases) of all newly notified TB patients in Japan with drug-susceptibility testing completed in 2017 (7,891 cases). The overall number of patients with MDR have remained stable. The number of patients among the foreign-born has slightly increased but the proportion has remained stable.

HIV/TB

In 2017, HIV test results were known only for 8.9% (1,488/16,789) of the newly notified TB patients. Of those patients with known test results, 34 (2.3%) were HIV positive and 1,454 (97.7%) were HIV negative.

Latent TB Infection

Persons with latent TB infection do not have any symptoms and cannot spread TB bacteria to others. They have TB bacteria in their bodies, but do not have active TB disease. About 5 to 10 percent of infected persons without treatment will develop active TB disease at some time in their lives. A total of 7,255 persons with latent TB infection were newly notified in 2017 in Japan.

Treatment outcome

Treatment of TB disease requires multiple drugs that need to be taken for six to nine months. Among 17,539 TB patients in 2016, 69.7% of those successfully completed the prescribed treatment regimen, 21.9% died during treatment due to any cause, and 8.4% were unsuccessful due to other reasons including transferred out, still on treatment, etc. This high mortality rate is due to the large number of elderly TB patients in Japan. In fact, the 85.5% of patients aged under 60 years old successfully completed the treatment, which met the global target of TB treatment outcome (>85% treatment success) set by the World Health Organization.

FACTSHEET TUBERCULOSIS IN JAPAN

All data in the factsheet is based on statistics published in The Tuberculosis Surveillance Center
http://www.jata.or.jp/rit/ekigaku/en

The annual report of tuberculosis in Japan in 2018 will be also available soon.
For more information and inquiry, please contact:
Tuberculosis Surveillance Center,
The Research Institute of Tuberculosis
Email: tbsur@jata.or.jp

Published November 2018

Staff profile

Akihiro Ohkado
Akihiro Ohkado (Head of Department)
Specializes in: public health, epidemiology, international health
Contact: ohkadoa (atmark) jata.or.jp
Kazuhiro Uchimura
Kazuhiro Uchimura (Deputy head of Department)
Specializes in: statistics, mathematical epidemiology
Contact: uchimura (atmark) jata.or.jp
Yuko Yamauchi
Contact: yamauchi (atmark) jata.or.jp
Lisa Kawatsu
Lisa Kawatsu (Senior epidemiologist)
Specializes in: social epidemiology, qualitative research, international health
Contact: kawatsu (atmark) jata.or.jp
Kiyohiko Izumi
Kiyohiko Izumi (Researcher)
Specializes in: epidemiology、international health
Contact: kizumi (atmark) jata.or.jp
Supporting staff
Kishitsugu Otake (Mr.)
Kazue Isokado (Ms.)

3-1-24 Matsuyama, Kiyose-shi, Tokyo 204-8533 Japan