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Table 2 Previous or ongoing systematic reviews regarding infectious diseases and respiratory infections in refugees and asylum seekers

From: Reducing burden from respiratory infections in refugees and immigrants: a systematic review of interventions in OECD, EU, EEA and EU-applicant countries

Authors (year) Name of review N references Population Infection(s) Intervention(s) /exposure(s) Main findings
Dasgupta, et al. (2005) [25] Cost-effectiveness of tuberculosis control strategies among immigrants and refugees 72 Immigrants, refugees from high to low incidence-countries Tuberculosis All TB- related diagnostics* 1) Previously used chest-x-ray has minimal impact
2) Ideal control strategy would be global investment in high-incidence countries
3) Cell-mediated strategies are expensive and were not evaluated for screening purposes
Aldridge et al. (2014) [26] Pre-entry screening programmes for tuberculosis in migrants to low-incidence countries 15 Migrants to low-incidence-countries Tuberculosis Pre-entry-screening
(all TB- related diagnostics*)
1) Biggest yield for culture- and smear-based screening for individuals from high-incidence-countries
2) Ideal control strategy would be domestic returns for
Investment in tuberculosis control programs overseas
Campbell et al. (2015) [27] A systematic review on TST and IGRA tests used for diagnosis of LTBI in immigrants 51 Immigrants Tuberculosis TST and IGRA in low-incidence countries 1) TST and IGRA present similar sensitivity and specificity for active TB–IGRA may be preferred in immigrants
2) positive test prevalence was lower for individuals < 18 years old and individuals from low-incidence countries
De-vries et al. (2017) [41] Barriers and facilitators to the uptake of tuberculosis diagnostic and treatment services by hard-to-reach 12 Hard-to-reach (mainly migrants) Tuberculosis Risk-factors for limited uptake of TB treatment and diagnostic 1) Tuberculosis-related
Stigmatisation was perceived as a major barrier
2) Institutional barriers main factors for delay to diagnosis
3) No strong evidence on facilitators found
4) Cultural and language barriers main factors for health-care providers
Heuvelings et al. (2017) [29] Effectiveness of interventions for diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in hard-to-reach populations in countries of low and medium tuberculosis incidence 19 Hard-to-reach Tuberculosis Treatment of active TB in OECD, EU, EEA and EU-applicant countries 1) Mobile chest-x ray units are an effective and easy way of diagnosing active TB, because of poor follow-up in this population
2) Active referral to TB clinics has been shown to be effective in migrants for the uptake of treatment
3) Community dot by non-family members seem to be most effective, some contradictions
4) Incentives are a valuable intervention to increase uptake of screening, diagnosis and adherence to treatment in homeless people and drug abusers
Bellos et al. (2010) [8] The burden of acute respiratory infections in crisis-affected populations 36 Health-crises affected populations Acute respiratory infections Affected by health crises 1) High burden of ARI even increases during crises
2) Older children should be more integrated in vaccination strategies
3) More resources should be invested for ARI prevention and control
Bozorgmehr et al. (2017) [24] Infectious disease screening in asylum seekers—range, coverage and economic evaluation in Germany, 2015 n.a Refugees Screened infectious diseases Health screening implemented by German states 1) Newly arrived refugees are mainly affected by screening for active TB, STI and stool parasites
2) Expenses for screening using private fees could be 30% higher
3) High costs in diseases with low yield argue for more evidence-based approaches in screening methods
Crocker-buque et al. (2017) [79] Immunization, urbanization and slums—a systematic review of factors and interventions 63 Hard-to-reach neighbourhood mostly in middle and low-income countries VPD*** Living in difficult conditions 1) Many different factors associated with immunization status strongly varying by investigated area
2) Community involvement has shown to face several factors for low immunization at the same time
3) Physical distance to health services should be reduced
4) Maternal education has shown to be effective
Eiset et al. (2017) [5] Review of infectious diseases in refugees and asylum seekers-current status and going forward 51 Refugees and other migrants Infectious diseases Migrant status (prevalence studies) 1) Prevalence of TB is rising
2) Infectious diseases are important in refugees
3) Risk of transmission to autochthonous population is low
4) Refugee status and context of flight is rarely considered in studies
Hvass et al. (2017) [22] Systematic health screening of refugees after resettlement in recipient countries 53 Refugees Screened infectious diseases Implemented health screenings 1) Circumstances of screening strongly depend on recipient country
2) Most common screened diseases are TB, parasites, hepatitis and anaemia
3) Though important–mental health issues and chronic diseases were only screened in a few studies
Mipatrini et al. (2017) [9] Vaccinations in migrants and refugees—a challenge for european health systems 58 Migrants and refugees in Europe VPD*** Strategies for assessment and immunisation 1) Health systems of countries of origin often are disrupted from war, leading to risk of critical infection with VPD***
2) Polio and MMR-vaccines should be prioritised, tetanus, diphtheria and hep. B. As well
Pavli et al. (2017)
Health problems of newly arrived migrants and refugees in europe n.i Refugees and migrants in Europe Infectious and other diseases Migrant status (prevalence studies) 1) Prevalence and disease-spectrums vary by country of origin
2) Respiratory diseases are the most common health issue at the Greek-Turkish border
3) Access to health care is often influenced by legal limitations for refugees
Pottie et al. (2017) [80] [Review-protocol]
Prevention and assessment of infectious diseases among children and adult migrants arriving to the European Union/European Economic Association
n.a Migrants in Europe Tuberculosis
Hepatitis b and c
Intestinal parasites
Being targeted by any prevention and assessment strategy considered Data not yet published-
Chernet et al. (2018) [81] Prevalence rates of six selected infectious diseases among African migrants and refugees 113 Migrants/ refugees of African origin Hepatitis b and c
Intestinal parasites
Migrant status (prevalence studies) 1) Blood-borne infections are more relevant in refugees than intestinal parasitic infections
2) Transmission cycle of parasitic infections is interrupted in recipient countries
3) Geographic region of origin shows correlation with disease-spectrum
Nellums et al. (2018) [6] Antimicrobial resistance among migrants in Europe 23 Migrants in Europe Infection with AMR° Migrant status (observational studies) 1) Prevalence of AMR in migrants is about 25% overall
2) Prevalence of AMR higher in refugees/asylum seekers than other migrants
3) No data found on transmission to autochthonous population
Seedat et al. (2018) [23] How effective are approaches to migrant screening for infectious diseases in Europe? 47 Migrants in Europe Screened infectious diseases Implemented health screenings 1) Innovative strategies should be implemented for completion of screening and treatment
2) Coverage of screening is low
3) EU/EEA approach of screening is too restrictive/focussed on single diseases
  1. *(= radiological), cell-mediated, serological, microbiological, microscopical)
  2. ***vaccine preventable diseases
  3. °antimicrobial resistant pathogens