Nav: Home

Universal TB screening of immigrants to Canada costly, inefficient

September 28, 2015

Canada's blanket practice of screening all newly arriving immigrants for tuberculosis (TB) is highly inefficient and should focus on only those arriving from countries with high rates of TB, according to research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

"Programs screening for active TB in immigrants from low-incidence countries incurs substantial costs to the federal government, the provincial and territorial ministries of health, local health authorities, medical providers and the immigrants themselves without showing evidence of substantial public health benefit," writes Dr. Kamran Khan, scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital and associate professor in the University of Toronto's Division of Infectious Diseases, with coauthors.

All immigrants to Canada are screened for contagious forms of TB by chest x-ray before emigrating, and some receive secondary surveillance after settling in the country. In Canada and the United States, two-thirds of TB cases are in residents born abroad, although they make up a smaller proportion of the population (one-fifth in Canada and one-eighth in the US).

In a study of 944 375 immigrants who settled in Ontario, Canada's largest province, between 2002 and 2011, researchers found that a large portion (87.3%) of TB cases detected before immigration came from people born in just 6 countries: Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

"New immigrants arrived in Ontario from 214 countries during the study period, but all cases of active TB detected through preimmigration screening or postimmigration surveillance occurred in patients who originated from just 35 countries," write the authors. "Our findings highlight the inefficiency of universal screening for TB among new immigrants independent of the incidence of disease in their countries of origin."

They suggest that immigrants from areas with low rates of TB, such as Australia, New Zealand, the US and Western European countries, should not be routinely screened for TB.

The study also indicates that the current practice of surveillance after arrival is marginally effective, and unnecessary for some immigrant populations.

Countries such as Canada that receive large numbers of immigrants from areas with a high incidence of TB should also consider increased investment in international TB prevention and management.
-end-


Canadian Medical Association Journal

Related Immigrants Articles:

Among farmworkers, immigrants are less likely to use SNAP
The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- formerly known as 'food stamps' -- that helps low-income individuals and families purchase food is less likely to be used by farmworkers eligible for the benefit who are immigrants, Hispanic, male, childless or residing in California, new research from UC Davis health economists shows.
The immune system may explain skepticism towards immigrants
There is a strong correlation between our fear of infection and our skepticism towards immigrants.
Researchers study care for undocumented immigrants with kidney failure
By failing to provide scheduled dialysis treatments to undocumented immigrants with kidney failure, states pay higher costs for care and the patients face greater pain and psychological distress, according to a new study appearing in the latest issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Illness experience of undocumented immigrants with end-stage renal failure
A small study of undocumented immigrants with kidney failure reports that not having access to scheduled hemodialysis results in physical and psychological distress that impacts them and their families, according to a new article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
Disparities between asian immigrants and sufficient access and utilization of dental service
The results of the study indicated that the acculturation variable -- length of stay in the US -- had the strongest association with having a dental visit in the previous twelve months among Asian immigrants.
Study shows biological changes that could underlie higher psychosis risk in immigrants
A new study could explain how migrating to another country increases a person's risk of developing schizophrenia, by altering brain chemistry.
Jindal School study examines immigrants' influence on trade
A new study from The University of Texas at Dallas shows that firms are significantly more likely to trade with countries that have large resident populations living near the headquarters.
Educational gains by immigrants to US not as large as believed, study finds
The descendants of immigrants to the United States from Europe did not attain significantly more education than would have been expected if their families had remained in their homelands, according to a new study.
Immigrants play increasing role in US science and engineering workforce
From 2003 to 2013, the number of scientists and engineers residing in the United States rose from 21.6 million to 29 million.
How the Ebola scare stigmatized African immigrants in the US
The study finds similarities to how the gay community was stigmatized during the AIDS crisis in the '80s.

Related Immigrants Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".