OBJECTIVE: To determine the spatial distribution of tuberculosis in the city of Ribeirão Preto, located in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, between 1998 and 2002, with a focus on the potential spatially-dependent nature of its occurrence. METHODS: The secondary Epi-Tb database of the Ribeirão Preto Municipal Secretary of Health. Georeferencing of tuberculosis cases was performed using MapInfo 6.5 software, and the Spring program was used for statistical analysis of spatial data. RESULTS: Through analysis of the existing spatial pattern and those of the previous years analyzed, we found a consistent pattern of spatial distribution of tuberculosis in Ribeirão Preto. Although there are areas that were homogeneous in terms of risk, the highest concentrations of cases were found in one zone, consisting of middle- to lower middle-class neighborhoods, located in the northeast part of the city. CONCLUSION: These results add to the store of knowledge regarding the spatial distribution of tuberculosis in Ribeirão Preto in various periods, emphasizing the importance of space as a methodological alternative to aid the planning, monitoring and evaluation of health care programs, allowing interventions to be more appropriately directed in order to decrease inequalities in the allocation of health care resources.
Tuberculosis; Health status indicators; Residence characteristics; Urban health; Topography; medical