Low income and overcrowding cited as reasons for TB rise

Wednesday 24 March 2004

Low income, crowded housing and unnecessary fear of tuberculosis have been cited as reasons for the increase in cases of the disease among Pacific islanders in Auckland.

By The Landlord

Statistics released yesterday to coincide with World TB Day today show that there were a total of 243 active cases notified in Auckland last year.

The figure was the highest in the region going back at least 10 years.

The Auckland District Health Board said available data suggested that the increase had occurred among two groups - recent migrants and Pacific Islanders.

In cases involving people from a Pacific Island background, half had been exposed to someone in New Zealand with TB, usually a household member.

Massey University researcher Dr Ate Moala said today that TB was well controlled in the islands.

She said the situation in Auckland had to be seen against broader issues like low income, overcrowding and general lack of knowledge about the illness.

"It's poverty related, it's overcrowding, it's not how Pacific people choose to live," she said.

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