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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2005 Dec;9(12):1320-6.

Socio-demographic and geographic indicators and distribution of tuberculosis in Hong Kong: a spatial analysis.

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Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR China.



To determine the socio-demographic and geographic indicators responsible for the distribution and transmission of tuberculosis (TB) in Hong Kong using geographical information system (GIS) technology.


All patients with bacteriologically proven TB over a period of 3 years (May 1999-April 2002) residing within Hong Kong Island were studied. Molecular characterisation of their sputum isolates by IS6110-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) technique was performed. Socio-demographic data were derived from the 2001 Hong Kong population census. Geographic coordinates of patients' addresses were linked to the GIS; large street block groups (LSBGs) were the units of analysis.


Of 2387 patients with bacteriologically confirmed TB, 2332 had valid addresses distributed in 430 LSBGs in Hong Kong Island. Of the five socio-demographic indicators studied, significant correlations were found between the rate of TB in an LSBG and low educational attainment, elderly population and low-income household, but not population density or unemployment. The five socio-demographic indicators were not different between LSBG with clustered cases and those with unique cases.


Low educational attainment, old age and poverty were significant determinants of the rate of TB in different parts of Hong Kong, while none of the socio-demographic indicators was related to disease transmission.

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