Socioeconomic status and biomedical risk factors in migrants and native tuberculosis patients in Italy

Silvia Pittalis, Pierluca Piselli, Silvia Contini, Gina Gualano, Mario Giuseppe Alma, Marina Tadolini, Pavilio Piccioni, Marialuisa Bocchino, Alberto Matteelli, Stefano Bonora, Antonio Di Biagio, Fabio Franzetti, Sergio Carbonara, Andrea Gori, Giovanni Sotgiu, Fabrizio Palmieri, Giuseppe Ippolito, Enrico Girardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Action on social determinants is a main component of the World Health Organization End Tuberculosis (TB) Strategy. The aim of the study was to collect information on socioeconomic characteristics and biomedical risk factors in migrant TB patients in Italy and compare it with data collected among Italian TB patients. A cross-sectional study was conducted among TB patients aged 18 years over a 12-months enrolment period in 12 major Italian hospitals. Information on education, employment, housing and income was collected, and European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions index was used to assess material deprivation. Among migrants, we also analyzed factors associated with severe material deprivation. Migrants were compared with younger (18–64 years) and older (65+ years) Italians patients. Out of 755 patients enrolled (with a median age of 42 years, interquartile range: 31–53), 65% were migrants. Pulmonary, microbiologically confirmed, and new cases were 80%, 73%, and 87% respectively. Prevalence of co-morbidities (i.e. diabetes, chronic kidney disease, neoplastic diseases and use of immunosuppressive drugs) was lower among migrants compared to Italian TB patients, while indicators of socioeconomic status, income and housing conditions were worst in migrants. Forty-six percent of migrants were severely deprived vs. 9% of Italians (p<0.0001, 11.3% and 5.5% among younger and older Italians, respectively). Among migrants, being male, older, irregular, unemployed, with a shorter time spent in Italy, a lower education level, and without a co-morbidity diagnosis were factors associated with severe material deprivation at multi-variable logistic regression. Moreover, socioeconomic indicators for Italian patients did not differ from those reported for the general Italian population, while migrant TB patients seem to have a higher prevalence of severe material deprivation than other migrants residing in Italy. Intervention to address the needs of this population are urgent.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0189425
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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