Active Tuberculosis among Homeless Persons, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1998–2007

Active Tuberculosis among Homeless Persons, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1998–2007

While tuberculosis (TB) in Canadian cities is increasingly affecting foreign-born persons, homeless persons remain at high risk. To assess trends in TB, we studied all homeless persons in Toronto who had a diagnosis of active TB during 1998–2007. We compared Canada-born and foreign-born homeless persons and assessed changes over time. We identified 91 homeless persons with active TB; they typically had highly contagious, advanced disease, and 19% died within 12 months of diagnosis. The proportion of homeless persons who were foreign-born increased from 24% in 1998–2002 to 39% in 2003–2007. Among foreign-born homeless persons with TB, 56% of infections were caused by strains not known to circulate among homeless persons in Toronto. Only 2% of infections were resistant to first-line TB medications. The rise in foreign-born homeless persons with TB strains likely acquired overseas suggests that the risk for drug-resistant strains entering the homeless shelter system may be escalating.

Download the summary (PDF)

Active Tuberculosis among Homeless Persons, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1998–2007 was published in the Journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in 2011.

Aussi disponible en français

JOURNAL: Emerging Infectious Diseases
VOLUME: March 2011
PUBLICATION DATE: 2011