Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Tuberculosis and poverty.

British Medical Journal 1993; 307 doi: (Published 25 September 1993) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1993;307:759
  1. D P Spence,
  2. J Hotchkiss,
  3. C S Williams,
  4. P D Davies
  1. Aintree Chest Centre, Fazakerley Hospital, Liverpool.


    OBJECTIVE--To examine whether the historical link between tuberculosis and poverty still exists. DESIGN--Retrospective study examining the notifications of all forms of tuberculosis by council ward over a six year period and correlating this with four indices of poverty; council housing, free school meals, the Townsend overall deprivation index, and the Jarman index. SETTING--The 33 electoral wards of the city of Liverpool. SUBJECTS--344 residents of Liverpool with tuberculosis. RESULTS--The rate of tuberculosis was correlated with all measures of poverty, the strongest correlation being with the Jarman index (r = 0.73, p < 0.0001). This link was independent of the high rates of tuberculosis seen in ethnic minorities. CONCLUSION--Tuberculosis remains strongly associated with poverty.