Background Rates of tuberculosis (TB) in UK South Asian communities are up to 17 times higher than in white British groups. Latent infection in new migrants provides only a partial explanation.We undertook a systematic review of the literature to establish existing knowledge about TB in South Asian communities. Methods We undertook a search for literature relating to TB and its management in South Asian communities in the UK. Articles initially identified were screened for relevance. A narrative review of relevant articles was then conducted. Results We found 18 relevant articles. Associated risk factors for TB included poverty, deprivation, return visits to the Indian subcontinent, history of close contact with a case, gender, religion, possible dietary factors such as Vitamin D deficiency, duration of stay in the UK and country of birth. However, the evidence for these factors was often conflicting or weak, and suggests that commonly proposed hypotheses may not provide robust explanations for the higher rates of diagnosis. Conclusions Migration patterns and the demographic profile of the South Asian communities are constantly changing. Further research into the determinants of TB infection in these communities in the UK is urgently needed to inform the commissioning of TB health services.
- Communicable diseases