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Eur Respir J. 2003 Oct;22(4):637-42.

Risk factors for recent transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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Division of Communicable Disease Control, Norway.


In recent decades, the decline of tuberculosis has stopped in Western Europe, mainly due to increased immigration from high-prevalence countries. The objective of the current study was to identify risk factors for developing tuberculosis following recent infection, in order to better target interventions. Strains from 861 culture-positive cases, diagnosed in Norway in 1994-1999, were analysed by use of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). A cluster was defined as two or more isolates with identical RFLP patterns. Risk factors for being part of a cluster were identified by univariate and multivariate analysis. A total of 134 patients were part of a cluster. These constituted 5% Asian-born, 18% Norwegian-born, 24% European-born and 29% African-born patients. Four independent risk factors for being part of a cluster were identified: being born in Norway, being of young age, being infected with an isoniazid-resistant strain and being infected with a multidrug-resistant strain. Transmission of tuberculosis may be further reduced by improving case management, contact tracing, preventive treatment, screening of immigrants and access to health services for the foreign-born population.

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