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Free Content Local epidemic history as a predictor of tuberculosis incidence in Saskatchewan Aboriginal communities

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BACKGROUND: Average tuberculosis (TB) incidence rates are high in Canadian Aboriginal communities, but there is significant variability within this group.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether local history of post-contact TB epidemics is predictive of contemporary epidemiology among Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan, Canada.

METHODS: TB incidence, age-specific morbidity patterns and rates of clustering of TB genotypes from 1986 to 2004 were compared between two groups of communities: Group 1, in which post-contact epidemics of TB were established around 1870, and Group 2, in which they were delayed until after 1920. Concomitant effects of socio-economic and geographic variables were explored with multivariate models.

RESULTS: Group 2 communities were characterized by higher annual incidence of TB (median 431 per 100 000 population vs. 38/100 000). In multivariate models that included socio-economic and geographic variables, historical grouping remained a significant independent predictor of community incidence of TB. Clustering of TB genotypes was associated with Group 2 (OR 8.7, 95%CI 3.3–22.7) and age 10–34 years (OR 2.5, 95%CI 1.1–5.7).

CONCLUSIONS: TB transmission dynamics can vary significantly as a function of a population's historical experience with TB. Populations at different stages along the epidemic trajectory may be amenable to different types of interventions.

Keywords: Canada; Native American; epidemic; health status disparity; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA 2: Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada 3: Department of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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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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