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Free Content Risk factors for tuberculosis in Greenland: case-control study

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SETTING AND OBJECTIVE: Despite several efforts aiming at disease control, the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) remains high in Greenland, averaging 131 per 100 000 population during the period 1998–2007. The purpose of the present study was to disclose risk factors for TB.

METHODS: A case-control study was performed among 146 patients diagnosed with TB in the period 2004–2006. For each patient, four healthy age- and sex-matched control persons living in the same district were included. All participants completed a questionnaire regarding socio-demographic and lifestyle factors. Risk factor analyses were carried out using logistic regression models.

RESULTS: Factors associated with TB were Inuit ethnicity, living in a small settlement, unemployment, no access to tap water, no bathroom or flushing toilet, underweight, smoking, frequent intake of alcohol and immunosuppressive treatment. The multivariate model showed that Inuit ethnicity (OR 15.3), living in a settlement (OR 5.1), being unemployed (OR 4.1) and frequent alcohol use (OR 3.1) were independent determinants of risk. Unemployment was associated with the highest population-attributable risk (29%).

CONCLUSION: Risk factors associated with living in a settlement should be further explored and an investigation of genetic susceptibility is warranted.
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Keywords: Greenland; Inuit; risk factors; social determinants; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Medical Department, Queen Ingrids Hospital, Nuuk, Greenland 2: National Board of Health in Greenland, Nuuk, Greenland 3: Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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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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