Working conditions and tuberculosis mortality in England and Wales, 1890-1912: A retrospective analysis of routinely collected data

Charlotte Jackson, Joanna H. Mostowy, Helen R. Stagg, Ibrahim Abubakar, Nick Andrews, Tom A. Yates*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Modelling studies suggest that workplaces may be important sites of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission in high burden countries today. Contemporary data on tuberculosis by occupation from these settings are scarce. However, historical data on tuberculosis risk in different occupations are available and may provide insight into workplace transmission. We aimed to ascertain whether, in a high burden setting, individuals working in crowded indoor environments (exposed) had greater tuberculosis mortality than individuals employed elsewhere (unexposed). Methods: The Registrar General's Decennial Supplements from 1890-2, 1900-2 and 1910-2 contain data on mortality from tuberculosis by occupation for men in England and Wales. In these data, the association between occupational exposure to crowded indoor environments and tuberculosis mortality was assessed using an overdispersed Poisson regression model adjusting for socioeconomic position, age and decade. Results: There were 23,962 deaths from tuberculosis during 14.8 million person-years of follow-up among men working in exposed occupations and 28,483 during 19.9 million person-years of follow-up among men working in unexposed occupations. We were unable to categorise a large number of occupations as exposed or unexposed. The adjusted rate ratio for death from tuberculosis was 1.34 (95 % confidence interval 1.26-1.43) comparing men working in exposed occupations to those in unexposed occupations. Conclusions: Tuberculosis mortality in England and Wales at the turn of the 20th century was associated with occupational exposure to crowded indoor environments. The association between working conditions and TB in contemporary high burden settings requires further study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number215
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This report is independent research supported by the National Institute for Health Research (Post Doctoral Fellowship, HRS, PDF-2014-07-008). CJ is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). IA is funded by NIHR, Medical Research Council (MRC) and Public Health England. TAY receives a studentship from the MRC. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health. The funders had no role in the analysis or interpretation of data, writing the manuscript or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Jackson et al.

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Historical data
  • Occupation

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