Free Content TB status among Kosovar refugees

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DESIGN: In the spring of 1999, 864 Kosovars were directly airborne from refugee camps in Macedonia to a refugee camp in Kristiansand, Norway; 800 were examined according to official Norwegian TB screening procedures with X-ray (if more than 15 years of age) and tuberculin test shortly after arrival.

RESULTS: The mean (SD) age was 29.2 (18.7) years of age and 29% were aged under 15 years; 79% of the refugees had escaped from urban areas in Kosovo, and 75% had an identifiable BCG scar. Among those with BCG scar, increasing age and male sex were associated with a significant tuberculin reaction: 20% had tuberculin reactions indicating latent TB infection, while 40% had negative tuberculin reactions. Approximately 4% of the refugees aged over 15 had abnormal chest X-rays, predictive of an enhanced tuberculin reaction. Four refugees had X-ray findings compatible with active TB and were treated with standard four-drug chemotherapy.

CONCLUSION: The Kosovar refugees had a high incidence of active tuberculosis (50/100000). A fifth of the BCG-vaccinated refugees needed careful follow-up to monitor possible progress from latent to active TB infection after immigration, while one in seven non-BCG-vaccinated refugees had tuberculin skin reactions compatible with latent TB infection.

Keywords: epidemiology; refugees; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Section of Pulmonary Medicine, Medical Department, Vest-Agder Central Hospital, Kristiansand, Norway

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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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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