TB incidence

South Africa is one of the countries with the highest burden of TB. The World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics give an estimated incidence of 322,000 cases of active TB in 2017. This compares with an estimated incidence of 500,000 in 2011.

The TB incidence for any country is the number of new cases, usually of active TB disease that have occurred in the country during a certain time period which is usually a year. Out of the estimated 322,00 incident cases in South Africa in 2017, it is estimated by WHO that about 60% (193,000) are HIV positive.

It is also estimated that of the 123,148 whose status is known, and who are known to be HIV positive, some 89% (109,799) are on ARV therapy. There is more about TB in South Africa.

Latent TB

It is estimated that about 80% of the population of South Africa is infected with TB bacteria, the vast majority of whom have latent TB rather than active TB disease. The highest prevalence of latent TB, estimated at 88% has been found among people in the age group 30-39 years old living in townships and informal settlements.


TB continues to be the leading cause of death in South Africa. WHO gives a figure of 22,000 deaths from TB in South Africa in 2017 but this excludes those people who had both TB and HIV infection when they died. These people are internationally considered to have died of HIV. It is estimated that 56,000 people with both HIV & TB died in 2017.

National incidence rate of TB

The latest incidence figures are those for 2015.

The TB incidence rate is the proportion of new TB cases per 100,000 population over a year. In South Africa the national TB incidence rate reached its peak in 2009 at 832 per 100,000, and has since declined.

Incidence rate for provinces

The Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape are the provinces which have the highest incidence rates in South Africa with reported rates of 692, 685 and 681 per 100,000 respectively for 2015. The most notable decline has been in KwaZulu-Natal where the incidence rate has decreased from 1,185 to 685 per 100,000 over the last five years.