Postarrival Tuberculosis Screening of High-Risk Immigrants at a Local Health Department.
Am J Public Health
Authors:Nuzzo JB, Golub JE, Chaulk P, Shah M
Objectives. We sought to characterize postimmigration tuberculosis (TB) care for Class B immigrants and refugees at the Baltimore City Health Department TB program (BCHD), and to determine the proportion of immigrants with active TB or latent TB infection (LTBI) in this high-risk population. Methods. We conducted a retrospective chart review of Class B immigrants and refugees who reported to the BCHD for postimmigration TB evaluation from 2010 to 2012. Results. We reviewed the clinical records of 153 Class B immigrants; 4% were diagnosed with active TB and 53% were diagnosed with LTBI. Fifty percent of active TB cases were culture positive, and 67% were asymptomatic; 100% received and completed active TB therapy at the BCHD. Among those diagnosed with LTBI, 87% initiated LTBI therapy and 91% completed treatment. Conclusions. The high prevalence of active TB and LTBI found among Class B immigrants underscore the importance for postarrival TB screening. The absence of reported symptoms among the majority of active cases identified during this study suggest that reliance on symptom-based screening protocols to prompt sputa testing may be inadequate for identifying active TB among this high-risk group.