Insights into secular trends of respiratory tuberculosis: The 20th century Maltese experience

Over half a century ago, McKeown and colleagues proposed that economics was a major contributor to the decline of infectious diseases, including respiratory tuberculosis, during the 19th and 20th centuries. Since then, there is no consensus among researchers as to the factors responsible for the mortality decline. Using the case study of the islands of Malta and Gozo, we examine the relationship of economics, in particular, the cost of living (Fisher index) and its relationship to the secular trends of tuberculosis mortality. Notwithstanding the criticism that has been directed at McKeown, we present results that improvement in economics is the...

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