Predictors of diagnostic delay among tuberculosis patients in a U.S.-Mexico border community

Maria Priscila Bernal, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Delays in diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis have detrimental effects on the health of the ailing patient as well as the people around him or her. These effects are magnified in highly-travelled parts of the world. Identifying factors predictive of diagnostic delay is challenging, as these vary widely by culture and geography. Predictors of delay for tuberculosis patients living in the Northeastern Mexican city of Matamoros, a binationally-transited area, have yet to be described. Using secondary analysis of a retrospective survey, this study sought to identify predictors of diagnostic delay in a sample of culture-positive tuberculosis patients in Matamoros. Sociodemographic, behavioral, and health-related factors were measured and compared. Using bivariate and step-wise regression analyses at an alpha level of 0.05, the author found the following to be statically significant predictors for this sample (R 2=0.171): prior treatment of diabetes, recurrence of tuberculosis, and having ever used cocaine. A question assessing knowledge of immunocompromised subgroups was also identified as a predictor, although its implications are unclear. Notably, the instrument did not distinguish between patient and health system delay. In summary, more research should be conducted in the Matamoros area in order to fully understand the dynamics of delayed diagnosis and its application to public health practice.

Subject Area

Public health|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Bernal, Maria Priscila, "Predictors of diagnostic delay among tuberculosis patients in a U.S.-Mexico border community" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467584.