Molecular Diagnosis & Therapy

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 107–117 | Cite as

Latent Tuberculosis Infection Screening in Immigrants to Low-Incidence Countries: A Meta-Analysis

  • Jonathon R. Campbell
  • Wenjia Chen
  • James Johnston
  • Victoria Cook
  • Kevin Elwood
  • Jane Krot
  • Fawziah MarraEmail author
Original Research Article



Immigration from regions with a high incidence of tuberculosis (TB) has slowed the decline of TB in low-incidence regions. Targeted screening of new immigrants and treatment for latent TB infection (LTBI) is needed to reinvigorate this decline. This meta-analysis compares LTBI diagnostic tests by positive test prevalence and proportion of positive tests by TB incidence.


A systematic literature search was performed and data extracted based on tuberculin skin test (TST) and/or interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) use in immigrants. For the eight studies performing tests concurrently, data were compared by positive tests and concordance, while other studies comparing individual tests were analyzed based on demographic factors. Data were analyzed via meta-analysis.


Forty-five studies with a combined sample size of 93,249 individuals were included in the analyses, 2206 of which were from the eight concurrent studies. Odds of a positive TST were significantly higher than an IGRA (odds ratio 1.46; 95 % confidence interval 1.07–2.01) and test agreement was moderate. Proportion of positive TST and IGRA tests increased with TB incidence, although not linearly.


TST and IGRA data relating to immigrants are lacking, especially long-term follow-up and comparative data. Further data are urgently needed to determine TB risks after immigration, long-term TB development, and treatment outcomes.


Tuberculin Skin Test Positive Tuberculin Skin Test LTBI Treatment LTBI Screening IGRA Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Funding and conflict of interest

The authors have no funding sources or conflicts of interest to declare at this time.

Author contribution

Jonathon R. Campbell: Literature search, statistical analysis, draft writing. Wenjia Chen: Statistical analysis and methodology. James Johnston, Victoria Cook, Kevin Elwood: Expert opinion, manuscript review. Jane Krot: Literature search. Fawziah Marra: Conception, statistical interpretation, implications, manuscript editing and review.

Supplementary material

40291_2015_135_MOESM1_ESM.docx (209 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 209 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathon R. Campbell
    • 1
  • Wenjia Chen
    • 1
  • James Johnston
    • 2
    • 3
  • Victoria Cook
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kevin Elwood
    • 3
  • Jane Krot
    • 1
  • Fawziah Marra
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.BC Centre for Disease ControlVancouverCanada

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