OBJECTIVE To describe a bibliometric review of the literature on tuberculosis (TB) research indexed in PubMed over a 10-year period. METHODS Medline was used via the PubMed online service of the US National Library of Medicine from 1997 to 2006. The search strategy was: [(tuberculosis) OR (tuberculous) in all fields]. RESULTS A total of 35 735 references were located. The average annual growth rate was +4.7%. The articles were published in 2874 scientific journals. Sixteen journals contained 25% of the TB journal literature. The main journal was the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. Western Europe was the most productive region, with 31.1% of the articles. The USA ranked second (21%) and Asia third (19.9%). The USA is the predominant country, followed by India, Japan and the United Kingdom. When normalised by population, the order of prominence is Switzerland, New Zealand and Denmark. Normalised by GDP, Gambia, Malawi and Guinea-Bissau were the most productive countries. Normalised by estimated number of TB cases, Iceland, Switzerland and Norway were in leading positions. CONCLUSIONS There was increasing research activity in the field of TB during the period 1997-2006. The countries with more estimated cases of TB produced less research in TB than industrialised countries.