Homeless is a Risk Factor for TB

By: Allie Fruendt

Since the 1900's, tuberculosis, or TB, has been a problem with many people, including the homeless. The number of TB cases in the US has decreased by 1.7% since 1993. There are many risk factors for TB, many of which homeless people have. Some include HIV, substance abuse, and being in crowded places. People who are homeless have a 6% chance higher of getting TB.

"Their priority isn't to get preventive care. It's to make sure there's a roof over their head and food in their stomach,"

--Yvonne Jauregui, a nursing services coordinator

Since their health isn't there main priority, many don't pay attention to the signs of getting diseases, and they get diagnosed later than others.

How Pollution effects

Many homeless go to homeless shelters. Many shelters care more about the food and helping the people instead of the quality of the house. Poor indoor air quality can lead to TB as well. It is also associated with being in crowded places and poor quality ventilation. Poor quality ventilation systems in crowded places (homeless shelters as well as other places) can increase your chances of having TB. Bad air quality can lead to TB.


If a homeless person, or anyone, is experiencing symptoms like fever and a bad cough for 1-3 weeks. There are different ways to treat TB. Some treatments can include therapy, getting them in a safe environment, which can help with the air pollution. They can also take medication. A medical worker should be there to make sure people on track with their medication. Also, many think that homeless people's medication should be free of charge to get rid of the disease. After being diagnosed, the patients should make a fitness plan and be tested for other diseases.


Now, CDC is working with other organizations to improve treatments, as well as paying for those treatments, and free screenings to help them get help as soon as possible. This would help prevent TB, and if we kept up to date on our ventilation, it would also help indoor air pollution and TB.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

Fessler, Pam. "'We Shouldn't Have To Live Like This'" NPR. NPR, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

"Homelessness Is a Risk Factor for TB." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2015.

R, N. D O O. An Introduction for Health ProfessionalsI N D O O R A I R P O L LU T I O N (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.