Tuberculosis and latent tuberculous infection screening of migrants in Europe: comparative analysis of policies, surveillance systems and results

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2017 Aug 1;21(8):840-851. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.17.0036.


Migration patterns into and within Europe have changed over the last decade. In 2015, European Union (EU) countries received over 1.2 million asylum requests, more than double the number registered in the previous year. This review compares the published literature on policies for tuberculosis (TB) and latent tuberculous infection (LTBI) screening in EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries with the existing TB/LTBI screening programmes for migrants in 11 EU/EFTA countries based on a survey of policy and surveillance systems. In addition, we provide a systematic review of the literature on the yield of screening migrants for active TB and LTBI in Europe. Published studies provide limited information about screening coverage and the yield of screening evaluations in EU/EFTA countries. Furthermore, countries use different screening strategies and settings, and different definitions for coverage and yield of screening for active TB and LTBI. We recommend harmonising case definitions, reporting standards and policies for TB/LTBI screening. To achieve TB elimination targets, a European platform for multi-country data collection and analysis, sharing of countries' policies and practices, and harmonisation of migrant screening strategies is needed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Latent Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology