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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


SOUZA, Wayner V. et al. The use of socioeconomic factors in mapping tuberculosis risk areas in a city of northeastern Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2000, vol.8, n.6, pp.403-410. ISSN 1680-5348.

In Brazil the challenge of meeting the needs of those living in deprived areas has generated discussions on replacing the existing approach to epidemiological surveillance with an integrated public health surveillance system. This new approach would supplant the traditional focus on high-risk individuals with a method for identifying high-risk populations and the areas where these persons live. Given the magnitude of the problem that tuberculosis (TB) poses for Brazil, we chose that disease as an example of how such a new, integrated public health surveillance system could be constructed. We integrated data from several sources with geographic information to create an indicator of tuberculosis risk for Olinda, a city in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. In order to stratify the urban space in Olinda and to check for an association between the resulting TB risk gradient and the mean incidence of the disease between 1991 and 1996, we applied two different methods: 1) a "social deprivation index" and 2) principal component analysis followed by cluster analysis. Our results showed an association between social deprivation and the occurrence of TB. The results also highlighted priority groups and areas requiring intervention. We recommend follow-up that would include treating acid-fast bacilli smear-positive pulmonary TB cases, tracing of these persons' contacts, and monitoring of multidrug-resistant cases, all in coordination with local health services.

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