Preventing infectious pulmonary tuberculosis among foreign-born residents of the United States

Academic Article


  • Objectives. We described risk factors associated with infectious tuberculosis (TB) and missed TB-prevention opportunities in foreign-born US residents, who account for almost two thirds of the nation's TB patients. Methods. In a cross-sectional study at 20 US sites of foreign-born persons diagnosed with TB in 2005 through 2006, we collected results of sputum smear microscopy for acid-fast bacilli (a marker for infectiousness) and data on visa status, sociodemographics, TB-related care seeking, and latent TB infection (LTBI) diagnosis opportunities. Results. Among 980 persons with pulmonary TB who reported their visa status, 601 (61%) were legal permanent residents, 131 (13.4%) had temporary visas, and 248 (25.3%) were undocumented. Undocumented persons were more likely than permanent residents to have acid-fast bacilli-positive smears at diagnosis (risk ratio = 1.3; 95% confidence interval = 1.2, 1.4). Of those diagnosed 1 year or more after arrival, 57.3% reported LTBI screening opportunities; fewer than 25% actually were. Undocumented persons reported fewer LTBI screening opportunities and were less likely to be tested. Conclusions. Progress toward TB elimination in the United States depends upon expanding opportunities for regular medical care and promotion of LTBI screening and treatment among foreign-born persons.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Davidow AL; Katz D; Ghosh S; Blumberg H; Tamhane A; Sevilla A; Reves R
  • Start Page

  • e81
  • End Page

  • e88
  • Volume

  • 105
  • Issue

  • 9