Compliance with tuberculosis screening in irregular immigrants

Francesca Bonvicini, Silvia Cilloni, Rossano Fornaciari, Carmen Casoni, Cristina Marchesi, Marina Greci, Lucia Monici, Fausto Nicolini, Marco Vinceti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious public health problem in many regions of the world, especially in the poorest areas. For this reason, screening for active and latent forms must be considered when dealing with high-risk groups such as irregular immigrants in Western countries. We conducted a retrospective cohort study by recruiting subjects aged ≥15 years who underwent a tuberculin skin test at a dedicated National Health Service Centre in a northern Italian province between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2013. These participants were followed up until 31 December 2016. We aimed at evaluating an experimental protocol for active and latent tuberculosis screening, focusing on patient compliance, feasibility, and capability to detect clinical forms of the disease. We enrolled 368 irregular immigrants, i.e., immigrants not having a valid residence permit and who were therefore not entitled to choose a general practitioner. In total, 90.22% of these completed all the steps for the screening of active TB, while 87.33% also undertook screening for the latent form of the disease. Homelessness, self-reported prostitution, female sex, and employment status adversely affected compliance. Chronic alcohol consumption was associated with increased risk of no beginning or interruption of the procedures. All of the five patients with active TB successfully completed the treatment. Overall, adherence to the screening program was high compared to other studies in immigrants, possibly owing to organizational factors such as the availability of cultural mediators, the network between the different health services, the presence of dedicated nursing staff and a free-of-charge service. In addition, selected vulnerable subgroups should be targeted using tailored screening and follow-up programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Immigrants
  • Public health
  • Screening for tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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