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Risk of tuberculosis in immigrant Asians: culturally acquired immunodeficiency?
  1. P. J. Finch,
  2. F. J. Millard,
  3. J. D. Maxwell
  1. Department of Medicine, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London.


    Study of the 620 Asian immigrants with tuberculosis notified in the Wandsworth area of south London between 1973 and 1988 showed a bimodal pattern of tuberculosis notifications: in 1977 there was a peak among Asians from East Africa, and in 1981 a peak among those from the Indian subcontinent. There was a mean lag time of five years between clinical presentation and immigration. Logit analysis showed that, although overall more men had tuberculosis than women, glandular tuberculosis was more common among women of all groups, and pulmonary tuberculosis was more common among Hindu women than Hindu men. Both subgroups of Asians had a substantially higher incidence of tuberculosis than white people, particularly at extrapulmonary sites. Hindus were also at a significantly greater risk of tuberculosis at all sites than Muslims (Hindu:Muslim risk ratio 5.5 for women and 3.7 for men). The increased susceptibility to tuberculosis of Hindus, particularly Hindu women, may be related to a culturally acquired immunodeficiency caused by vegetarianism and associated vitamin deficiency.

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