Risk of tuberculosis in high-rise and high density dwellings: an exploratory spatial analysis

Environ Pollut. 2013 Dec;183:40-5. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2012.11.025. Epub 2013 Feb 28.


Studies have shown that socioeconomic and environmental factors have direct/indirect influences on TB. This research focuses on TB prevalence of Hong Kong in relation to its compact urban development comprising of high-rise and high-density residential dwellings caused by rapid population growth and limited land resources. It has been postulated that occupants living on higher levels of a building would benefit from better ventilation and direct sunlight and thus less likely to contract infectious respiratory diseases. On the contrary, those on lower floors amid the dense clusters of high-rises are more susceptible to TB infection because of poorer air quality from street-level pollution and lesser exposure to direct sunlight. However, there have not been published studies to support these claims. As TB continues to threaten public health in Hong Kong, this study seeks to understand the effects of housing development on TB occurrences in an urban setting.

Keywords: Environmental health risk; Geographic information system (GIS); Sky view factor (SVF); Spatial analysis; Tuberculosis (TB).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Pollution
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Population Density
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Ventilation / methods
  • Ventilation / statistics & numerical data