Latent tuberculosis in migrants travelling through the northeast regions of Mexico

Obed Medina-Macías, Philippe Stoesslé, Leonardo Perales-Rendón, Jorge Moreno-Cuevas, Francisco González Salazar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) affects nearly a quarter of the global population. Public health interventions aimed at interrupting tuberculosis transmission do not routinely include systematic screening of migrant populations for LTBI in Mexico, nor other high-income countries. However, early detection and treatment of LTBI in immigrant populations from high-burden countries are recommended by the World Health Organization.

Objective
The objective of this study was to determine the proportion of migrants with LTBI in shelters in northeastern Mexico.

Methods
In this cross-sectional study, blood samples were obtained from 455 migrants living in shelters in northeastern Mexico during January 2017 to October 2019. LTBI was diagnosed using the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Plus test.

Results
Most of the migrants evaluated in this study were from Honduras; ∼86% were male; the average age was 29 + 10 years. LTBI was identified in 18.4% of those from Central America. Migrants from El Salvador and Nicaragua were more likely to have LTBI than those from Honduras or Guatemala. Overweight or obese persons and older persons had a higher prevalence of LTBI. We detected no significant differences with respect to LTBI when the results were compared based on gender, education, or marital status.

Conclusion
The LTBI rates amongst migrants from Central America recently screened in shelters in northeastern Mexico appears to be relatively low given recent estimates of LTBI prevalence in Mexico.

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