Tuberculosis screening of migrants to low-burden nations: Insights from evaluation of UK practice

M. Pareek, I. Abubakar, P. J. White, G. P. Garnette, A. Lalvani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Tuberculosis (TB) primarily occurs in the foreign-born in European countries, such as the UK, where increasing notifications and the high proportion of foreign-born cases has refocused attention on immigrant (new entrant) screening. We investigated how UK primary care organisations (PCOs) screen new entrants and whether this differs according to TB burden in the PCOs (incidence <20 or ≥20 cases per 100,000 per annum). An anonymous, 20-point questionnaire was sent to all 192 UK PCOs asking which new entrants are screened, who is screened for active TB/latent TB infection (LTBI) and the methods used. Descriptive analyses were undertaken. Categorical responses were compared using the Chi-squared test. 177 (92.2%) out of 192 PCOs responded; all undertook screening action in response to abnormal chest radiographs, but only 107 (60.4%) screened new entrants for LTBI. Few new entrants had active TB diagnosed (median 0.0%, interquartile range (IQR) 0.0-0.5%) but more were identified with LTBI (median 7.85%, IQR 4.30-13.50%). High-burden PCOs were significantly less likely to screen new entrants for LTBI (OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.12-0.54; p<0.0001). Among PCOs screening for LTBI, there was substantial deviation from national guidance in selection of new entrant subgroups and screening method. Considerable heterogeneity and deviation from national guidance exist throughout the UK new entrant screening process, with high-burden regions undertaking the least screening. Forming an accurate picture of current front-line practice will help to inform future development of European new entrant screening policy. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175-1182
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • Latent tuberculosis
  • Migration
  • Screening
  • Tuberculosis


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