People living in overcrowded houses are at a 70% higher risk of contracting tuberculosis than those living in less crowded homes, according to a new study.
The research by He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago, Wellington, examined 1898 cases of TB from 2000 to 2004.
It found that TB is still an important infectious disease in New Zealand, and that the risk of infection is increased by household crowding.
The study also found there was little evidence of tuberculosis transmission from migrants to the New Zealand born population.
Associate Professor Michael Baker says there was no significant relationship between the risk of tuberculosis and the percentage of people in the neighbourhood who had been born in countries with a high incidence of the disease.
Michael Baker says the tuberculosis rate in this country has remained static for the past 20 years, at fewer than 400 cases a year.
Govt defends its state housing record
The government has defended its record on improving the health of people living in state houses, saying it is spending $91 million on a Healthy Homes renovation project.
The Housing Minister, Maryan Street, says the government can improve living conditions in state houses but it does have a limited reach into the private rental market.