Objective: To determine the risk factors for pulmonary tuberculosis incidence in Estonia.
Design: In a case-control study, the cases were 248 adult tuberculosis patients treated in a hospital in Tallinn between January 1999 and June 2000, and the controls were 248 persons sampled from the Population Registry and matched to cases by sex, year of birth and county of residence. A questionnaire was administered to collect information on potential risk factors. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
Results: The main risk factors for tuberculosis were marital status other than married, educational level less than higher, low income, having been in prison, not having own place of residence, current unemployment, current smoking, alcohol consumption, shortage of food, and contact with tuberculosis patients. Place of birth was not a risk factor. Risk of tuberculosis decreased for overweight persons whose individual economic situation had improved during the last year.
Conclusions: The pattern of risk factors for pulmonary tuberculosis in Estonia was somewhat different from that in Western European countries; a large percentage of the patients were men, but were not elderly, and immigration and drug abuse did not increase the risk. Major risk factors were related to poverty and low socio-economic status.