Tuberculosis in Bissau: incidence and risk factors in an urban community in sub-Saharan Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Despite the long history of tuberculosis (TB) research, population-based studies from developing countries are rare. Methods In a prospective community study in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau, we assessed the impact of demographic, socioeconomic and cultural risk factors on active TB. A surveillance system in four districts of the capital identified 247 adult (greater than or equal to15 years) cases of intrathoracic TB between May 1996 and June 1998. Risk factors were evaluated comparing cases with the 25 189 adults living in the area in May 1997. Results The incidence of intrathoracic TB in the adult population was 471 per 100 000 person-years. Significant risk factors in a multivariate analysis were increasing age (P < 0.0001), male sex (odds ratio [OR] = 2.58, 95% CI: 1.85, 3.60), ethnic group other than the largest group (Pepel) (OR = 1.64, 95% CI: 1.20, 2.22), adult crowding (OR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.18, 2.39 for >2 adults in household), and poor quality of housing (OR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.24, 2.22). Household type was important; adults living alone or with adults of their own sex only, had a higher risk of developing TB than households with husband and wife present, the adjusted OR being 1.76 (95% CI: 1.11, 2.78) for male households and 3.80 (95% CI: 1.69, 8.56) for female households. In a multivariate analysis excluding household type, child crowding was a protective factor, the OR being 0.68 (95% CI: 0.51, 0.90) for households with >2 children per household. Conclusions Bissau has a very high incidence of intrathoracic TB. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), increasing age, male sex, ethnicity, adult crowding, family structure, and poor housing conditions were independent risk factors for TB. Apart from HIV prevention, TB control programmes need to emphasize risk factors such as socioeconomic inequality, ethnic differences, crowding, and gender.


  • Per Gustafson
  • VF Gomes
  • CS Vieira
  • P Rabna
  • R Seng
  • P Johansson
  • A Sandstrom
  • R Norberg
  • I Lisse
  • B Samb
  • P Aaby
  • Anders Nauclér
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • tuberculosis, community study, risk factor, sub-Saharan, Africa, HIV infection, incidence
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-172
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch