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Free Content The impact of altitude on mortality from tuberculosis and pneumonia

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between altitude and mortality from tuberculosis (TB) and pneumonia-influenza in Mexico.

DESIGN: We analysed specific causes of death in Mexico according to death certificates for the period 1993–1997, totalling over 270000 deaths and including nearly 23000 attributed to TB and 115000 to pneumonia and influenza. Thirty population subgroups were formed based on altitude of residence (six categories) and level of poverty (five categories). The effect of altitude on mortality was estimated through Poisson regression models, with adjustment for age, gender and socio-economic status.

RESULTS: Adjusted death rates for TB decreased with altitude and increased for pneumonia-influenza. Compared to people living below 500 m above sea level, those living between 2000 and 2499 m had a 58% mortality rate for TB and a three-fold increase in mortality due to pneumonia-influenza, despite adjustment for poverty, age and gender.

CONCLUSION: The mortality rate for TB based on death certificates decreases with altitude of residence, whereas the opposite is observed for pneumonia and influenza.
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Keywords: Mexico; altitude; influenza; tuberculosis, pneumonia

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Fisiología Pulmonar, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Mexico DF, Mexico 2: Department of Epidemiology, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Mexico DF, Mexico

Publication date: 2004-11-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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