Tuberculosis incidence in the Irish Traveller population in Ireland from 2002 to 2013 Academic Article uri icon


  • SUMMARYThe health status of the Irish Traveller ethnic minority is low compared to the general population in Ireland in terms of infant mortality rates and life expectancies. Respiratory disease is an area of health disparity manifested as excess mortalities in Traveller males and females. In this study, we examined the available data with regard to tuberculosis (TB) notifications in Ireland from 2002 to 2013. We found an increase in TB notifications in Irish Travellers from 2010 onwards. This resulted in a crude incidence rate for TB in Irish Travellers that was approximately threefold higher than that of the white Irish-born population in 2011 and 2012. An outbreak of TB in Irish Travellers in 2013 increased this differential further, but when outbreak-linked cases were excluded, a higher incidence rate was still observed in Irish Travellers relative to the general population and to white Irish-born. The mean age of a TB patient was 26 years in Irish Travellers compared to 43 years in the general population, and 49 years in white Irish-born. Based on available data, Irish Travellers exhibit a higher incidence rate and younger age distribution of TB compared to white Irish-born and the general population. These observations emphasize the importance of routine use of ethnicity identifiers in the management of TB and other notifiable communicable illnesses in Ireland. They also have implications for the orientation of preventive services to address health disparities in Irish Travellers and other ethnic minority groups.


  • O'Toole, Ronan F
  • Jackson, S
  • Hanway, A
  • O'Donnell, J
  • Comiskey, CM
  • Rogers, TR
  • O'Flanagan, D

publication date

  • 2015