Country-specific approaches to latent tuberculosis screening targeting migrants in EU/EEA* countries: A survey of national experts, September 2019 to February 2020

ESGITM/ESGMYC Study Groups, Ioana Margineanu, Kieran Rustage, Teymur Noori, Dominik Zenner, Christina Greenaway, Manish Pareek, Onno Akkerman, Sally Hayward, Jon S Friedland, Delia Goletti, Ymkje Stienstra, Sally Hargreaves

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Background: Migrants in low tuberculosis (TB) incidence countries in the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) are an at-risk group for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and are increasingly included in LTBI screening programmes.

Aim: To investigate current approaches and implement LTBI screening in recently arrived migrants in the EU/EEA and Switzerland.

Methods: At least one TB expert working at a national level from the EU/EEA and one TB expert from Switzerland completed an electronic questionnaire. We used descriptive analyses to calculate percentages, and framework analysis to synthesise free-text responses.

Results: Experts from 32 countries were invited to participate (30 countries responded): 15 experts reported an LTBI screening programme targeting migrants in their country; five reported plans to implement one in the near future; and 10 reported having no programme. LTBI screening was predominantly for asylum seekers (n = 12) and refugees (n = 11). Twelve countries use 'country of origin' as the main eligibility criteria. The countries took similar approaches to diagnosis and treatment but different approaches to follow-up. Six experts reported that drop-out rates in migrants were higher compared with non-migrant groups. Most of the experts (n = 22) called for a renewed focus on expanding efforts to screen for LTBI in migrants arriving in low-incidence countries.

Conclusion: We found a range of approaches to LTBI screening of migrants in the EU/EEA and Switzerland. Findings suggest a renewed focus is needed to expand and strengthen efforts to meaningfully include migrants in these programmes, in order to meet regional and global elimination targets for TB.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 24-Mar-2022

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