Screening for infectious diseases in newly arrived asymptomatic immigrants in southern Italy

Scotto, Gaetano; Fazio, Vincenzina; Muzio, Lorenzo Lo; Coppola, Nicola
April 2019
Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal;Apr2019, Vol. 25 Issue 4, p246
Academic Journal
Background: Screenings for infectious diseases in asymptomatic immigrants currently takes place when receiving new arrivals. Aims: We describe the frequency of infections in a cohort of newly arrived asymptomatic immigrants in Southern Italy. Methods: We studied a cohort of 238 Sub-Saharan African and Asian men hosted at a reception centre (CARA) in Foggia between January and December 2015. The tuberculin skin test for diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and serology/virology testing for HBV, HCV, HIV were performed. Results: From this cohort, 205 individuals agreed to be tested for serological/virological markers only, while 82 agreed to be tested for LTBI only; 49 people agreed to have both tests. Among those tested for virological markers, 23/205 (11.2%) were HBsAg positive; 12/23 (52.2%) individuals had chronic active hepatitis; 77/205 (37.6%) individuals had only anti-HBc positivity. HCV infection was present in 8/205 (3.9%) individuals, and chronic HCV infection, was diagnosed in only two people. Only 2/205 (1.0%) individuals presented with anti-HIV and HIV-RNA positivity. We found LTBI in 29.6% of TB-tested individuals. Conclusions: Asymptomatic immigrants are at increased risk for some infections, mainly HBV and tuberculosis.


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