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Risk Factors for Tuberculosis Among Inmates: A Retrospective Analysis


  • Seijeoung Kim, R.N., Ph.D., is Project Director/Analyst, Hektoen Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois. Kathleen S. Crittenden, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

* Seijeoung Kim, Hektoen Research Institute, 1900 W. Polk St., Administration Building 902, Chicago, IL 60612. E-mail:


Abstract  This paper examined risk factors associated with TB among inmates, over a 7-year period, and the association of ethnicity and gender with these risk factors. We performed retrospective analysis of data on former inmates from a county jail. TB status at admission was explained with demographics, behavioral risk factors, and incarceration factors. We examined ethnicity and gender defenses on the risk factors. A total of 441 TB cases and 478 non-TB cases were included. Inmates were more likely to have TB if they were whites, unmarried, homeless, alcohol abusers, and HIV positive. Inmates with TB had even lower socioeconomic status and more behavioral risk factors than other inmates. They had fewer incarcerations and less serious crimes, but longer jail stays. TB risk factors differed by ethnicity and gender. TB control in jails requires intervention in the communities where inmates live. Correctional health is a critical part of public health. Public health nurses are responsible for better understanding and improving health care for this high-risk and difficult-to-reach population.