The Age-Related Epidemiology of Tuberculosis: Data from South Africa and the Philippines

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Centre for Mental Health

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Image credit: Ron Haviv.

Special Seminar: The Minnie Ackman Lecture

Unlike most other infectious diseases, tuberculosis (TB) epidemics develop and resolve over time periods measured in decades and centuries. Vulnerability to TB changes markedly with age - risk declines after early childhood and then increases dramatically during adolescence.

This gives rise to complex age-related patterns in the epidemiology of TB, which change as TB epidemics evolve over the long term. Concurrent epidemics of TB and HIV introduce additional complexity in many settings.

This lecture will review the age-related epidemiology of TB in modern epidemics, based on recent work conducted in the Philippines and South Africa - settings of high TB transmission but markedly different HIV prevalence. Adolescents are a neglected population in TB research and control, but they constitute a substantial number of patients in both countries.The role of adolescents in evolving TB epidemics will be discussed, together with their importance for TB elimination.

This work was supported by the Henry and Rachel Ackman Trust, and the Centre for Research Excellence in Tuberculosis.

Kathryn Snow is an infectious disease epidemiologist with a background in microbiology.

Kathryn works at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, and as a consultant epidemiologist with the World Health Organization.

Her work is focused on utilising routinely collected data to understand tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and drug-related harms. She has a particular interest in improving health services for vulnerable populations, including adolescents, prisoners and ex-prisoners, and people who use drugs.

Kathryn enjoys statistics but realises that this is a niche interest. This lecture will not include any algebra, calculus, or letters from the Greek alphabet.

The seminar flyer is available to download.