Social, clinical and microbiological differential characteristics of tuberculosis among immigrants in Spain

José María García-García, Rafael Blanquer, Teresa Rodrigo, Joan A. Caylà, José A. Caminero, Rafael Vidal, Martí Casals, Juan Ruiz-Manzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To identify the differential tuberculosis (TB) characteristics within the immigrant population with respect to natives in Spain. Methodology/Principal Findings: A prospective cohort study design was implemented to examine the TB cases diagnosed and starting standard antituberculous treatment in Spain, between January 1st 2006 and March 31st 2007. A logistic regression analysis was performed to determine differential characteristics. 1,490 patients were included in the study population, 1,048 natives and 442 (29.7%) immigrants. According to the multivariate analysis, the following variables were significantly associated with immigrant TB cases: younger age (OR = 3.79; CI:2.16-6.62), living in group situation (OR = 7.61; CI:3.38-12.12), lower frequency of disabled (OR:0.08; CI:0.02-0.26) and retired (OR:0.21; CI:0.09-0.48) employment status, lower frequency of pulmonary disease presentation (OR = 0.47; CI:0.24-0.92), primary or emergency care admission (OR = 1.80; CI:1.05-3.06 and OR = 2.16; CI:1.36-3.45), drug resistance (OR = 1.86; CI:1.01-3.46), treatment default (OR:2.12; CI:1.18-3.81), lower frequency of alcohol and cigarette consumption (OR = 2.10; CI:1.42-3.11 and OR = 2.85; CI:2.10-3.87 respectively), more directly observed treatment (OR = 1.68; CI:1.04-2.69), and poor understanding of TB disease and its treatment (OR = 3.11; CI:1.86-5.20). The low percentage of primary MDR-TB in the native population (0.1% vs. 2.2% of immigrants) should be noted. Conclusions/Significance: The differences show the need to introduce specific strategies in the management of TB within the immigrant population, including the improvement of social and work conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere16272
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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