Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in North Carolina, 1966 to 1986: Analysis of Demographic Features, Geographic Variation, AIDS, Migrant Workers, and Site of Infection

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We analyzed all cases of tuberculosis reported in North Carolina between 1966 and 1986, and related the incidence rate of tuberculosis (per 100,000 population) to age (0 to 4 years, 7.59; 5 to 14 years, 3.44; 15 to 24 years, 6.30; 25 to 44 years, 15.92; 45 to 64 years, 33.85; >65 years, 51.54), race (white 9.03, nonwhite 47.40), and gender (male 25.49, female 11.25). Over the 21-year study period the annual number of cases declined from 1,248 to 711 (43%), and the incidence rate from 25.56 to 11.25 (56%). Although the incidence rate of tuberculosis fell for all subgroups, nonwhites continued to have an incidence rate 3.2 to 22.5 times higher than whites, depending on age. The standardized morbidity ratio (SMR) (by age, race, and gender) of tuberculosis in the eastern region of North Carolina was nearly twice that of the western region and unexplainable by its demographics. Between 1983 and 1986 only a small percentage of cases of tuberculosis in North Carolina were accounted for by migrant farm workers (1.7% to 2.7%) and patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (<1%). Tuberculosis is increasingly a disease of the elderly, especially nonwhite men. Tuberculosis is a geographically and demographically focal disease in North Carolina, and preventive strategies should be appropriately targeted. © 1989 Southern Medical Association.