Pulmonology Pulmonology
Pulmonol 2018;24:69-72 - Vol. 24 Num.2 DOI: 10.1016/j.pulmoe.2018.02.004
Review article
Tuberculosis in the news: How do Portuguese media cover TB
F. Lopesa, R. Duarteb,c,d,, , G.B. Migliorie, R. Araújoa
a Centro de Estudos Comunicação e Sociedade, Universidade do Minho, Portugal
b Serviço de Pneumologia, Centro Hospitalar de Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
c EPIUnit – Instituto de Saúde Pública, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
d Departamento de Ciências de Saúde Pública, Ciências Forenses e Educação Médica, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
e World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Fondazione S. Maugeri, IRCCS (Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Sceintifico), Italy
Received 04 February 2018, Accepted 16 February 2018

From a public health perspective, media can influence public perceptions towards the severity of an illness, the risks of becoming ill, change seek-care behaviours or reduce disease related stigma.

Material and methods

With the aim analysing the media coverage of tuberculosis in the Portuguese press, we analyzed all news texts published between 2012 and 2014 in six National newspapers (Expresso, Público and Diário de Notícias – broadsheets; Sol, Jornal de Notícias and Correio da Manhã – tabloids). Our corpus was composed of 10,736 news pieces and 23,495 news sources. We then conducted a quantitative analysis based on descriptive statistics, through the data analysis software SPSS.


Tumours, HIV-Aids, Influenza, Transplants, Hepatitis, Obesity, Dengue, Mental Disorders and Heart Diseases were the most media covered pathologies, ahead of tuberculosis. Tumours represented 22% of all news, tuberculosis only represented 1.9% – there is a noteworthy difference among media treatment.

When it comes to the news themes, Tuberculosis was mainly news due to alarm and risk situations (53.4% of all texts). This also means that stories were usually negative, which may lead to a stigmatization of this disease. Even though the numbers were not very expressive, there was some media attention thrown at prevention.


Media intervention is a fundamental public health tool that could be more developed – it would be important to understand what are the interventions with higher impact on health and how to better use them.

News, Media, Communication, Tuberculosis, TB, Mycobacteria, Awareness, Information, Journal, Journalism
Pulmonol 2018;24:69-72 - Vol. 24 Num.2 DOI: 10.1016/j.pulmoe.2018.02.004
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