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Screening for Imported Diseases in an Immigrant Population: Experience from a Teaching Hospital in Barcelona, Spain

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  • Departments of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Vall d'Hebron Teaching Hospital, Barcelona, Spain

The objective of this study was to describe the screening for imported diseases among an immigrant population. This retrospective observational study was of all adult immigrants attended at the Tropical Medicine Unit of the Vall d'Hebron Teaching Hospital from September of 2007 to March of 2010. The screening strategy was adjusted by symptoms, country of origin, and length of residence in Europe. Overall, 927 patients were included. The median age was 34.5 years, and 42.1% of patients were male. A diagnosis was made in 419 (45.2%) patients. The most frequent diagnoses were Chagas disease, anemia, latent tuberculosis infection, intestinal parasitosis, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. After screening, more diseases were identified in immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa (new diagnoses in 56.6% of patients) than patients from other geographic areas. The geographic origin and length of residence in a developed country determine the prevalence of diseases; hence, screening protocols must be based on this information.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Fernando Salvador, Department of Infectious Diseases, Vall d'Hebron Teaching Hospital, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail: fmsalvad@vhebron.net

Authors' addresses: Cristina Bocanegra, Fernando Salvador, Adrián Sánchez-Montalvá, Albert Pahissa, and Israel Molina, Department of Infectious Diseases, Vall d'Hebron Teaching Hospital, Barcelona, Spain, E-mails: cristinabocanegra@gmail.com, fmsalvad@vhebron.net, adrian.sanchez.montalva@gmail.com, apahissa@vhebron.net, and imolina@vhebron.net. Elena Sulleiro, Department of Microbiology, Vall d'Hebron Teaching Hospital, Barcelona, Spain, E-mail: esuillig@gmail.com.

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