Journal of Community Health

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 192–198 | Cite as

Knowledge and Perceptions of Tuberculosis Among a Sample of Urban Aboriginal People

  • Paul Brassard
  • Kelly K. Anderson
  • Dick Menzies
  • Kevin Schwartzman
  • Mary Ellen Macdonald
Original Paper


Achieving a high level of tuberculosis (TB) awareness is crucial for the success of prevention and treatment efforts in high-risk groups, and thus represents a key challenge for public health initiatives. Research exploring knowledge and perceptions of TB in Aboriginal populations has been lacking to date. We sought to explore the knowledge and perception of TB in a sample of high-risk Aboriginal peoples in Montreal who were undergoing a tuberculin skin test (TST) as part of a larger study. We conducted standardized, face-to-face interviews using a structured interview guide. The interview explored participants’ knowledge and perception of TB using a combination of both structured and open-ended questions. We also asked a series of open-ended questions that probed for participants’ experiences with urban health services, whether TB is discussed in Aboriginal communities and participants’ intentions should their TST result be positive. A total of 164 eligible Aboriginal persons volunteered to participate in our study. Close to one-third (54/164) reported knowing little about TB, and participant responses indicated that there were many prevalent misconceptions about the symptoms, transmission, cause and risk factors for the disease. The majority of respondents felt that TB was not openly discussed in their homes and communities, and approximately half (90/164) of respondents reported that they were not concerned about contracting TB. We conclude that there is a lack of knowledge and several misconceptions about TB among our sample of urban Aboriginal peoples.


Tuberculosis Aboriginal Awareness Urban health 



We would like to gratefully acknowledge the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal and the Montreal Chest Institute for their cooperation and support in this project, and Solange Piche and Brigitte Brisson for performing TST screening and data collection. This project was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR). Dr. Brassard is supported by a CIHR career award; Dr. Macdonald is supported by a career award from the CIHR New Emerging Team: Family Caregivers in Palliative and End of Life Care; and Drs. Schwartzman and Menzies are supported by career awards from the Fonds de la Recherché en Santé du Québec (FRSQ).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Brassard
    • 1
  • Kelly K. Anderson
    • 1
  • Dick Menzies
    • 2
  • Kevin Schwartzman
    • 2
  • Mary Ellen Macdonald
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Royal Victoria HospitalMcGill University Health CentreMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit, Montreal Chest InstituteMcGill University Health CentreMontrealCanada
  3. 3.School of Nursing & Department of Oncology, Montréal Children’s HospitalMcGill University Health CentreMontrealCanada

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