Open Medicine Journal

ISSN: 1874-2203 ― Volume 6, 2019

A Pilot Programme for Tuberculosis Screening in Immigrants at Primary Care

Josep M. Bellmunt-Bardas1, 2, 3, Juan Pedro-Botet3, 4, *, Juan J. Chillarón3, 4, Helena Lund-Palau5, Joan A. Caylà2, 6
1 Àrea Bàsica de Salut de la Barceloneta, Barcelona, Spain
2 Foundation of the Unitat d’Investigació en Tuberculosi de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
3 Department of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
4 Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain
5 Department of Gene Therapy, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, UK
6 Centros de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Spain



Immigrants from countries with a high prevalence of Tuberculosis (TB) may constitute a source of infection.


The aim of the present study was to describe a Tuberculosis (TB) screening programme at a primary health care centre directed at immigrants from countries with a high prevalence of TB.


This was a descriptive study conducted at a primary health centre in Barcelona between 2009 and 2012 for immigrants from countries with a TB incidence > 100/100,000. They were invited to join the TB detection programme on registering at the primary health care centre when a reference nurse conducted a survey on socio-health data, performed a Tuberculin Skin Test (TST) and requested a chest X-ray. Interferon Gamma Release Assays (IGRA) were applied in individuals with positive TST or an abnormal X-ray.


Ninety-one (70.5%) of 129 individuals, aged 29.8 ± 9.8 years, who entered the programme, were men, 60 (46.5%) were from Pakistan and 3 reported previous TB. Eighty-six (66.7%) immigrants completed the study protocol. Three cases (2.3%) of TB were diagnosed and 29 (30.5%) had latent TB infection. Seven chest X-rays yielded other non-TB radiological changes.


This TB screening programme should aid early detection of TB and LTBI among immigrants from high-TB prevalence countries on first registering at the primary health care centre.

Keywords: Immigration, Primary health care, Screening, Tuberculosis, High prevalence, Infection.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 6
First Page: 13
Last Page: 18
Publisher Id: MEDJ-6-13
DOI: 10.2174/1874220301906010013

Article History:

Received Date: 22/11/2018
Revision Received Date: 06/03/2019
Acceptance Date: 18/03/2019
Electronic publication date: 28/03/2019
Collection year: 2019

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© 2019 Bellmunt-Bardas et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Hospital del Mar, Passeig Marítim, 25-29. E-08003 Barcelona, Spain; Tel: +34 93248907;E-mail:


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