Setting: In Canada, tuberculosis (TB) is increasingly an urban health problem. Montreal is Canada's second-largest city and the second most frequent destination for new immigrants and refugees.
Objectives: To detect spatial aggregation of cases, areas of excess incidence and local 'hot spots' of transmission in Montreal.
Design: We used residential addresses to geocode active TB cases reported on the Island of Montreal in 1996-2000. After a hot spot analysis suggested two areas of overconcentration, we conducted a spatial scan, with census tracts (population 2500-8000) as the primary unit of analysis and stratification by birthplace. We linked these analyses with genotyping of all available Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates, using IS6110-RFLP and spoligotyping.
Results: We identified four areas of excess incidence among the foreign-born (incidence rate ratios 1.3-4.1, relative to the entire Island) and one such area among the Canadian-born (incidence rate ratio 2.3). There was partial overlap with the two hot spots. Genotyping indicated ongoing transmission among the foreign-born within the largest high-incidence zone. While this zone overlapped the area of high incidence among Canadian-born, genotyping largely excluded transmission between the two groups.
Conclusions: In a city with low overall incidence, spatial and molecular analyses highlighted ongoing local transmission.