Tuberculosis in migrants arriving by boat to Malta, 2011-2021
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Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit, Health Regulation, Ministry for Health, G'Mangia, Malta
Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit, Health Regulation, Ministry for Health, Malta
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1357
Background and Objective: Tuberculosis (TB) cases have been decreasing in Malta among the local indigenous population in the last decades but increasing among migrants arriving from high-incidence countries. To work towards national TB elimination, Malta implemented TB entry screening for third country nationals from high-incidence countries among other interventions. In this study we look at migrants that arrived at Malta by boat and were screened for active TB upon entry, the profile of cases and the time it took for them to present with active TB after arrival. Methods: A retrospective analysis was done on all cases of active TB among migrants arriving by boat who did the entry screening, reported between January 2011 and December 2021. Incidence of TB of cases among arrivals were calculated overall and by nationality and a median was calculated to track the time to develop TB after arrival. Results: Between 2011 and 2021, 14156 migrants arrived by boats and went through the TB screening process with an average of 1287 migrants per year (range 20-2279) as reported by Ministry of Home Affairs. Through the TB surveillance system 467 cases were reported between January 2011 and December 2021 among our study population. The most common country of origin was Somalia (41.6%), followed by Eritrea (24.5%), and Sudan (8.5%). The median duration of developing TB after arrival in Malta was five months (7.7, 4 and 3 months for Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan). All three countries had incidences of TB above 100 per 100000 in 2011. Conclusions: It is important to have information on TB entry screening results and how long it takes for migrants to develop TB after arrival in Malta to target TB elimination programmes and in particular the follow-up of migrants for development of TB.
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