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Background and aim

Management of health issues presented by newly arrived migrants is often limited to communicable diseases even though other health issues may be more prevalent. We report the results of infectious disease screening proposed to 462 recently-arrived asylum seekers over 14 years of age in Verona province between April 2014 and June 2015. Screening for latent tuberculosis (TB) was performed via tuberculin skin test (TST) and/or QuantiFERON-TB Gold in-tube assay and/or chest X-ray. An ELISA was used to screen for syphilis. Stool microscopy was used to screen for helminthic infections, and serology was also used for strongyloidiasis and schistosomiasis. Screening for the latter also included urine filtration and microscopy. Most individuals came from sub-Saharan Africa (77.5%), with others coming from Asia (21.0%) and North Africa (1.5%). The prevalence of viral diseases/markers of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was 1.3%, HCV infection was 0.85% and hepatitis B virus surface antigen was 11.6%. Serological tests for syphilis were positive in 3.7% of individuals. Of 125 individuals screened for TB via the TST, 44.8% were positive and of 118 screened via the assay, 44.0% were positive. Of 458 individuals tested for strongyloidiasis, 91 (19.9%) were positive, and 76 of 358 (21.2%) individuals from sub-Saharan Africa were positive for schistosomiasis. The screening of viral diseases is questionable because of low prevalence and/or long-term, expensive treatments. For opposing reasons, helminthic infections are probably worth to be targeted by screening strategies in asylum seekers of selected countries of origin.


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