The Effect of Tuberculosis and Tuberculosis Contact Tracing on School Function: An Exploratory Focus Group Study
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SETTING: Selected schools in East York, an ethnically diverse municipality of 110,000 people within Toronto. OBJECTIVE: To explore school staff's attitudes and beliefs about the nature of tuberculosis and its possible effect on the function and culture of schools. DESIGN: Four focus groups of 6-8 school staff, lasting from 1 to 1.5 hours, were held in the spring of 1997 at four different schools deemed to be at high risk for tuberculosis contact tracing. RESULTS: The study identified the following dominant themes: fear of tuberculosis and its impact on school, lack of knowledge and the need for education concerning tuberculosis, and issues in multiculturalism. CONCLUSION: Tuberculosis was perceived by staff of East York schools to be a source of fear. Lack of accurate and reliable information concerning tuberculosis contributes to this situation. Staff identified age-specific and culturally relevant, educational initiatives as means to reduce this fear.
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