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Free Content Tuberculosis and latent tuberculous infection screening of migrants in Europe: comparative analysis of policies, surveillance systems and results

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Migration patterns into and within Europe have changed over the last decade. In 2015, European Union (EU) countries received over 1.2 million asylum requests, more than double the number registered in the previous year. This review compares the published literature on policies for tuberculosis (TB) and latent tuberculous infection (LTBI) screening in EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries with the existing TB/LTBI screening programmes for migrants in 11 EU/EFTA countries based on a survey of policy and surveillance systems. In addition, we provide a systematic review of the literature on the yield of screening migrants for active TB and LTBI in Europe. Published studies provide limited information about screening coverage and the yield of screening evaluations in EU/EFTA countries. Furthermore, countries use different screening strategies and settings, and different definitions for coverage and yield of screening for active TB and LTBI. We recommend harmonising case definitions, reporting standards and policies for TB/LTBI screening. To achieve TB elimination targets, a European platform for multi-country data collection and analysis, sharing of countries' policies and practices, and harmonisation of migrant screening strategies is needed.
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Keywords: Europe; migrant; screening; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK; Department of Respiratory Medicine, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK 2: Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Department of Tuberculosis, Blood Borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections, Oslo, Norway 3: Department for Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany 4: Infectious Disease Unit, Karolinska Institute, Department of Medicine Solna, Solna, Division of Social Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 5: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands 6: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, Department of Global Health, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 7: TB Programme, Agency of Public Health of Barcelona, Barcelona, CIBER de Epidemiologia y Salud Publica, Barcelona, Spain 8: National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Health Security, Helsinki, Finland 9: Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Statistics Unit, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy 10: Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control, Public Health England, London, UK; Institute of Global Health, University College London, London, UK 11: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Publication date: 01 August 2017

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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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