September 27, 2018
TB persistent scourge for Māori
Māori suffer disproportionately from tuberculosis compared with others born in New Zealand.
The Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research says most cases of the 300 cases of the disease in this country every year are found among migrants, with the highest notification rate of being for those born in India, Philippines and China.
For Māori the rate is 4.1 per 100,000, compared with a Pakeha rate of just 0.5 per 100,000 of the population.
ESR public health physician Jill Sherwood told a recent Australasian conference disease rates were highest for adults in their twenties, but it can affect all ages.
Last year there were three cases of children with the disease who were under five, all of whom were born in New Zealand and of Māori ethnicity.
Dr Sherwood says the first steps towards eliminating the disease in New Zealand would be mapping all TB-risk groups, with the data used by health authorities to inform policy on screening and treatment.
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