Tuberculosis, an infectious disease that is transmitted by coughing, is the leading cause of death attributable to a single pathogen. In China, which has the second highest number of tuberculosis cases in the world, massive rural-to-urban population shifts over the past 15 years have coincided with large increases of the disease in cities. These recent increases have typically been attributed to the importation of tuberculosis by migrants traveling from rural settings where the incidence of tuberculosis infection and disease have been historically higher than in urban settings.
An international team of scientists, led by Chongguang Yang, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Public Health, studied the transmission dynamics of tuberculosis over seven years in Songjiang, a district of Shanghai that has experienced influxes of rural migrants and subsequent increases in the local burden of tuberculosis. The findings are published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.