Tuberculosis in indigenous communities of antioquia, Colombia: Epidemiology and beliefs

José Mauricio Hernández Sarmiento, Victoria Lucia Dávila Osorio, Lina María Martínez Sánchez, Laura Restrepo Serna, Diana Carolina Grajales Ospina, Andrés Eduardo Toro Montoya, Verónica Arango Urrea, Natalia Vargas Grisales, Manuela Estrada Gómez, Johan Sebastián Lopera Valle, Juan José García Gil, Lady Restrepo, Gloria Mejía, Elsa Zapata, Verónica Gómez, Diver Lopera, José Leonardo Domicó Domicó, Jaime Robledo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Scopus citations


    Morbidity and mortality caused by tuberculosis are increased in most of the Latin-American indigenous communities. Factors that could explain this situation are poverty and limited health services access due to social conflicts and geographical isolation. We determined the frequency of tuberculosis in Colombian indigenous communities and described their knowledge related to transmission and control. We developed a descriptive study and health survey. Interviews were performed to find ancestral knowledge about tuberculosis. Sputum samples from patients with respiratory symptoms were analyzed. 10 indigenous communities were studied, which tuberculosis incidence was 291/100,000. Communities believe that tuberculosis is a body and spirit disease, which transmission is by direct contact or by witchcraft. Tuberculosis incidence in the studied communities was ninefold higher than that of the general population from Antioquia Department. Knowledge exchange could facilitate the community empowerment and implementation of educational activities which might improve the control of the disease.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10-16
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Feb 2013


    • Beliefs
    • Epidemiology
    • Indigenous communities
    • Knowledge exchange
    • Tuberculosis


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