Introduction Tuberculosis (TB) is a challenge for the Mexican Health System. Its burden is particularly high among migrants indigenes. Cultural barriers aggravate vulnerability of these groups that travel along the “Mexican Pacific Corridor” to get jobs in Sonora, and eventually will migrate to the United States. Little is known about how perceptions of disease, barriers to care, marginalisation, and migration history, relate to the TB burden of these communities.
Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the TB incidence in Mexican migrant indigenes assented in agricultural fields of Sonora, Mexico. The epidemiological profile of TB was characterised, and a qualitative approach was used to examine perceptions of health personnel, and TB patients.
Results A fourfold excess of TB incidence rate (121.2/100 000) was found in these groups when compared with national and state average. Very low rates of cure (25%) were found in indigenes, and a high proportion (54%) of TB patients was detected belatedly. A mixture of indigenes patients was observed, most of them coming from the south of Mexico. TB burden may be underestimated in these groups because ethnicity is not routinely investigated by health personnel.
Conclusions The TB burden among Mexican migrant indigenes arriving to Sonora is well above of the national average. The Mexican Health System does not systematically identify ethnicity in TB patients, which may exacerbate difficulties for the TB control, and eventually to favour its dissemination along the US-Mexico Border.
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