Undocumented Migrants in Switzerland: Geographical Origin Versus Legal Status as Risk Factor for Tuberculosis

  • H. WolffEmail author
  • J. P. Janssens
  • P. Bodenmann
  • A. Meynard
  • C. Delhumeau
  • T. Rochat
  • P. Sudre
  • M. C. Costanza
  • J. M. Gaspoz
  • A. Morabia
Original Paper


Undocumented migrants, meaning migrants without a legal residency permit, come to Geneva from countries with high tuberculosis (TB) incidence. We estimate here whether being undocumented is a determinant of TB, independently of origin. Cross-sectional study including undocumented migrants in a TB screening program in 2002; results were compared to 12,904 age and frequency matched participants in a general TB screening program conducted at various workplaces in Geneva, Switzerland from 1992 to 2002. A total of 206 undocumented migrants (36% male, 64% female, mean age 37.8 years (SD 11.8), 82.5% from Latin America) participated in the TB screening program. Compared to legal residents, undocumented migrants had an adjusted OR for TB-related fibrotic signs of 1.7 (95% CI 0.8;3.7). The OR of TB-related fibrotic signs for Latin American (vs. other) origin was 2.7 (95% CI 1.6;4.7) among legal residents and 5.5 (95% CI 2.8;10.8) among undocumented migrants. Chest X-ray screening identified a higher proportion of TB-related fibrotic signs among Latin Americans, independently of their residency status.


Tuberculosis Screening Immigrants Undocumented migrants 



We are thankfully indebted to H. Stalder, L. Nicod, C. Perrot, R. Tuosto-Aeschlimann and M. Holst for their help and support throughout the project. This study received funding by the social department of the Geneva, Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Wolff
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. P. Janssens
    • 2
  • P. Bodenmann
    • 3
  • A. Meynard
    • 1
  • C. Delhumeau
    • 1
  • T. Rochat
    • 2
  • P. Sudre
    • 4
  • M. C. Costanza
    • 1
  • J. M. Gaspoz
    • 1
  • A. Morabia
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Primary Care and Community MedicineUniversity Hospitals of Geneva, University of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland
  2. 2.Division of Pulmonary DiseasesUniversity Hospitals of Geneva, University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Ambulatory Care and Community MedicineUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Economy and HealthGeneral Directorate of HealthGenevaSwitzerland
  5. 5.Queens CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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