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Tuberculosis disease trends among African migrants from 2010 to 2014 in Aotearoa, New Zealand

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Minority migrant groups, such as African migrants in New Zealand, are often disproportionately affected by TB yet remain hidden or unaccounted for in government or public health statistics due to their small population sizes. The aim of this study was to address this gap and to expand the existing international literature by describing the epidemic characteristics and trends of TB for African migrants living in NZ.

Subject and methods

A descriptive epidemiological analysis of all TB cases notified between 2010 and 2014 was undertaken using the R statistical tool version 3.3.1 and MS Excel 2016. TB incidence rates were computed and compared by three population groups; African, ‘Other foreign’, and NZ born.


From 2010 to 2014, the average annual incidence rate of TB was highest among the African migrants (25.37 per 100,000) compared to the other foreign-born (21.76 per 100,000), and NZ-born (1.96 per 100,000) populations. Africans notified as having TB were likely to be male, unemployed, within their first year of arrival, in their most productive ages (between 20 and 49 years), from the most deprived 20% of small areas in NZ, and likely to originate from South Africa, Somalia, or Ethiopia. While Africans with TB were more likely to delay in seeking treatment, they were the most likely to successfully complete.


The study described key factors associated with TB and showed the different epidemiological characteristics between the three groups compared. The findings support the need for migrant-specific TB elimination action plans if TB elimination targets are to be achieved.

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Correspondence to Emmanuel Badu.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee [Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Ethics Committee, reference 16/128] and with the 1964 Helsinki Decalaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Badu, E., Mpofu, C. & Farvid, P. Tuberculosis disease trends among African migrants from 2010 to 2014 in Aotearoa, New Zealand. J Public Health (Berl.) (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-020-01222-1

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  • Migrant TB
  • African migrant
  • TB elimination
  • Low incidence