Authors: Tahira Kootbodien, Kerry Wilson, Nonhlanhla Tlotleng, Vusi Ntlebi, Felix Made, David Rees, and Nisha Naicker

Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2018, 15, 2756; DOI:10.3390/ijerph15122756


Abstract: Work-related tuberculosis (TB) remains a public health concern in low- and middle-income countries. The use of vital registration data for monitoring TB deaths by occupation has been unexplored in South Africa. Using underlying cause of death and occupation data for 2011 to 2015 from Statistics South Africa, age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) were calculated for all persons of working age (15 to 64 years) by the direct method using theWorld Health Organization (WHO) standard population. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to calculate mortality odds ratios (MORs) for occupation groups, adjusting for age, sex, year of death, province of death, and smoking status. Of the 221,058 deaths recorded with occupation data, 13% were due to TB. ASMR for TB mortality decreased from 165.9 to 88.8 per 100,000 population from 2011 to 2015. An increased risk of death by TB was observed among elementary occupations: agricultural labourers (MORadj = 3.58, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 2.96–4.32), cleaners (MORadj = 3.44, 95% CI 2.91–4.09), and refuse workers (MORadj = 3.41, 95% CI 2.88–4.03); among workers exposed to silica dust (MORadj = 3.37, 95% CI 2.83–4.02); and among skilled agricultural workers (MORadj = 3.31, 95% CI 2.65–4.19). High-risk TB occupations can be identified from mortality data. Therefore, TB prevention and treatment policies should be prioritised in these occupations.