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Free Content Screening for tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection among undocumented immigrants at an unspecialised health service unit

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SETTING: Practical or cost-effective strategies to identify undocumented immigrants with latent tuberculosis infection and to deliver treatment for latent TB infection are still unavailable.

OBJECTIVES: To compare completion rates of screening procedures for TB infection and disease among undocumented immigrants at specialised (TB) and unspecialised health services in Italy.

DESIGN: A TB unit (TBU) and an unspecialised health service unit for migrants (MHCU) served as recruitment sites for recent undocumented immigrants from TB endemic areas. The screening included a symptom questionnaire, a tuberculin skin test and a chest X-ray.

RESULTS: Of 1318 eligible subjects, 1232 (93.4%) accepted the screening. Screening was completed by 993 (80.6%) individuals overall, 86.5% and 71.4% at the TBU and MHCU services, respectively. In a multivariate analysis model, the only variable associated with an increased probability of completing screening was being enrolled at the TBU site (OR 2.5, 95%CI 1.8–3.5; P < 0.001). Three hundred and ninety-two subjects (39.4%) had a TST test of ≥10 mm. Eight cases of active tuberculosis were detected, with a calculated prevalence of disease of 650/100000.

CONCLUSIONS: Undocumented immigrants to Italy can be screened for TB at an unspecialised health service unit, although not as efficiently as at a specialised TB unit.

Keywords: immigrants; screening; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy 2: Tuberculosis Clinic, District Health Department, Turin, Italy 3: District Health Department, ASL 2 Brescia, Italy

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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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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