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Free Content Incidence of tuberculosis in a community of Senegalese immigrants in Northern Italy

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SETTING: Tuberculosis is the world's foremost cause of death from a single infectious agent among adults. Although morbidity and mortality rates are highest in low income countries, industrialized countries have also faced a recent resurgence of the tuberculosis epidemic. In Europe and the United States increasing tuberculosis incidence rates are observed, particularly among persons with the human immunodeficiency virus infection and immigrants from highly endemic countries.

OBJECTIVE: To measure the incidence of tuberculosis in a retrospective cohort of Senegalese immigrants in a closed community.

DESIGN: During 1991, 721 of 794 (91%) community residents were actively screened using the tuberculin skin test and chest X-ray. In 1995 the out-patient clinical charts and the tuberculosis notification registers were reviewed to determine tuberculosis incidence.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: A total of 328 subjects (45.4% of those screened) was retrospectively followed for a cumulative period of 10147 months. Ten cases of active tuberculosis were detected. The annual incidence rate for tuberculosis was 11.8/1000, compared to 15.1/100000 in the general population. Tuberculosis incidence was similar in subjects with a positive (12.3/1000), compared to a negative baseline tuberculin test (12.5/1000). Tuberculosis incidence is very high, and recent infections might account for a substantial proportion of cases among immigrants living in closed communities.

Keywords: immigrants; incidence; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases—University of Brescia, Italy 2: District Health Unit 18, Brescia, Italy

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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