Each year approximately 100 people in Seattle get infected with Tuberculosis. African immigrants account for up to 16% of these infections. The incidence of TB infection has been increasing rapidly among East African youth in particular. In July 2004, the Seattle & King County Department of Public Health released an article in EPI-LOG detailing a Tuberculosis outbreak among East African young men between the ages of 17-25.
Purpose 1) To assess how much knowledge teenagers in the East African community have regarding TB. 2) To develop an effective health education intervention to increase awareness about the disease.
Methods Data from previous focus groups on Tuberculosis in East African communities was collected. Information from each of the cases in the outbreak was reviewed in order to determine possible contacts. A survey of teens was conducted at the Children and Teens Clinic at Harborview Medical Center, the most utilized health care facility for East Africans in Seattle. An age-specific, culturally relevant flyer was designed for teens of Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Somalian descent. The flyer was piloted with teens at the clinic then distributed within the East African community and throughout the Harborview Medical Center.
Results Discussions with patients at the clinic revealed that most youth had heard of TB but would be unable to identify symptoms, methods of transmission, or risk factors for infection.
Conclusions The goal of the intervention was to increase overall TB awareness among youth in the East African community and provide them with information on where to get tested for infection. Discussions of the outbreak were avoided in order to prevent panic throughout the community, however such precautions made it difficult to convey to teens the importance of learning about TB. Overall, the flyers were well received and knowledge among teens regarding TB infection has increased.
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