High Tuberculosis Strain Diversity Among New York City Public Housing Residents

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We sought to better understand tuberculosis (TB) epidemiology among New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents, after a recent TB investigation identified patients who had the same TB strain.


The study population included all New York City patients with TB confirmed during 2001 through 2009. Patient address at diagnosis determined NYCHA residence. We calculated TB incidence, reviewed TB strain data, and identified factors associated with TB clustering.


During 2001 to 2009, of 8953 individuals in New York City with TB, 512 (6%) had a NYCHA address. Among the US-born, TB incidence among NYCHA residents (6.0/100 000 persons) was twice that among non-NYCHA residents (3.0/100 000 persons). Patients in NYCHA had high TB strain diversity. US birth, younger age, and substance use were associated with TB clustering among NYCHA individuals with TB.


High TB strain diversity among residents of NYCHA with TB does not suggest transmission among residents. These findings illustrate that NYCHA’s higher TB incidence is likely attributable to its higher concentration of individuals with known TB risk factors.

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