Epidemiology of tuberculosis in Montreal

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ObjectiveTo identify the epidemiologic characteristics of tuberculosis (TB) in Montreal and the patterns of resistance to antituberculous drugs in order to improve TB control in the region.DesignDescriptive analysis of surveillance data for TB cases reported in Montreal by physicians and laboratories between 1992 and 1995.SettingRegion of Montreal, population 1 775 899.ParticipantsAll cases of active TB among Montreal residents reported to the Department of Public Health between Jan. 1, 1992, and Dec. 31, 1995.Outcome measuresEpidemiologic characteristics, proportion of cases resistant to antituberculous drugs and types of resistance.ResultsA total of 798 cases of TB (mean annual incidence 11.2 per 100 000) were reported in Montreal during the study period. Of these patients, 617 (77.3%) were born outside Canada. The annual incidence of TB in the foreign-born population (37.5 per 100 000) was 10 times the rate in the Canadian-born population, and the highest rate among foreign-born residents (62.8 per 100 000) occurred in those 15-29 years of age. In general, annual incidence in Montreal's foreign-born population reflected the reported incidence of TB in their regions of birth. In 8.7% of all cases, the disease was resistant to isoniazid, and the proportion of cases resistant to this drug was greater than 4% in almost all age groups, among both foreign-born and Canadian-born patients.ConclusionsTB remains a major problem in Montreal, as in other large cities. Surveillance data give opportunities to public health agencies to adapt their prevention and control strategies to local situations and can also help clinicians in their clinical decision-making.

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