Comprehensive infectious disease screening in a cohort of unaccompanied refugee minors in Germany from 2016 to 2017: A cross-sectional study

PLoS MedicineJanda A, Eder K, Fressle R, et al. | April 02, 2020

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Given the significance of understanding the frequency and clinical presentation of infectious diseases (IDs) among minor refugees for improving their healthcare and developing more effective ID screening strategies for this population, a standardized IDs screening protocol was evaluated in a cohort of unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) in a municipal region of southwest Germany. From January 2016 to December 2017, a cohort of 890 URMs was screened using a structured questionnaire. Findings indicated practicability of standardized ID screening in a URM cohort and aided in collection of relevant patient data in a thorough and time-effective manner. In this cohort, the most prevalent ID was scabies (present in 14.2% of URMs), whereas a relatively low prevalence of active tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was observed (1.7% and 0.4%, respectively). Serial stool investigations of patients with eosinophilia for parasite screening had a low diagnostic yield but were linked with significant costs and logistic challenges. In general, no clinical detection could be made of most of the diagnosed chronic infections among URMs. This emphasize performing ID screening independently of clinical complaints among refugees.

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