A qualitative study exploring awareness and attitudes towards tuberculosis in migrant populations in a Metropolitan District Council in the North of England

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Abstract

Background

The majority of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the UK occur among people born in high-burden countries (73%), and are concentrated in large urban centres. This study explores migrants' attitudes and beliefs towards TB in an English District where the incidence is higher than the UK average.

Methods

Community engagement workers ran 26 focus groups using a standardized questionnaire. Purposeful sampling was used to obtain a cross-section of migrant communities. The summary reports were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results

Most groups did not see TB as a current issue in their community and associated it either with the past or with their country of birth. It appeared to be rarely discussed in their communities and generally not noted as being associated with stigma.

Conclusions

This study revealed a change in social attitudes to TB in migrant groups to those reported in previous literature. Stigma had considerably less effect than expected. However, the evidence revealed that these high-risk groups made the erroneous assumption that, by moving to a low incidence country, they were no longer at risk of the disease. TB services need to respond by revising the information that they provide to take into account the risk perception of these populations.

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