Tuberculosis continues to be a major concern for health-care workers throughout the world. The numbers of tuberculosis cases have declined steadily in western and central Europe, North and South America, and the Middle East, and have increased in countries of the former Soviet Union and in sub-Saharan Africa. In the United States, there were a total of 14,871 tuberculosis cases (5.1/100,000 population) during 2003, representing a 1.9% decline in the rate from 2002. Tuberculosis rates have increased in certain states in the United States.
The incidence of smear-positive tuberculosis in Saudi Arabia was estimated to be 20 per 100,000 population. The incidence rates of culture-positive tuberculosis in our study per 100,000 populations were 5.2 in 1989, 3.5 in 1993, 11.1 in 1998, and 7.6 in 2003. Thus, the incidence of tuberculosis in the current study showed an increasing linear trend over the study period from 1989 to 2003 (x2 = 19.647, p = 0.0001).