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Screening asylum seekers for infectious diseases is widely performed, but economic evaluations of such are scarce. We performed a policy analysis and economic evaluation of such screening in Germany, and analysed the effect of screening policies on cost differences between federal states. Of the 16 states, screening was compulsory for tuberculosis (TB) in asylum seekers ≥ 16 years of age in all states as well as in children < 16 years of age and pregnant women in six states, hepatitis B and enteropathogens in three, syphilis in two and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in one state. Of 441,899 asylum seekers, 88.0% were screened for TB, 22.9% for enteropathogens, 16.9% for hepatitis B, 13.1% for syphilis and 11.3% for HIV. The total costs for compulsory screening in 2015 were 10.3 million euros (EUR). Costs per case were highest for infections with spp. (80,200 EUR), spp. (8,000 EUR), TB in those ≥ 16 years of age (5,300 EUR) and syphilis (1,150 EUR). States with extended screening had per capita costs 2.84 times those of states that exclusively screened for TB in asylum seekers ≥ 16 years of age (p < 0.0001, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.96–4.10). Screening practices in Germany entailed high costs; evidence-based approaches to infectious disease screening are needed.


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