The history and evolution of immigration medical screening for tuberculosis

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2013 Feb;11(2):137-46. doi: 10.1586/eri.12.168.


Identifying and managing TB in immigrating populations has been an important aspect of immigration health for over a century, with the primary aim being protecting the host population by preventing the import of communicable diseases carried by the arriving migrants. This review describes the history and development of screening for TB and latent TB infection in the immigration context (describing both screening strategies and diagnostic tests used over the last century), outlining current practices and considering the future impact of new advances in screening. The recent focus of the WHO, regarding their elimination strategy, is further increasing the importance of diagnosing and treating latent TB infection. The last section of this review discusses the latest public health developments in the context of TB screening in immigrant populations.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / history*
  • Emigration and Immigration / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Mandatory Testing / history*
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis / history*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • World Health Organization