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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


GIL, María et al. Influence of immigration on tuberculosis transmission patterns in Castellón, Spain (2004-2007). Gac Sanit [online]. 2011, vol.25, n.2, pp.122-126. ISSN 0213-9111.

Background: This study aimed to identify tuberculosis transmission patterns in Castellón in a period of major demographic changes. Methods: A prospective study of patients with positive culture in the province of Castellon over a 4-year period (2004-2007) was carried out. Cases were described by year and nationality and were compared with those reported to the Department of Public Health. We studied the population with available molecular patterns, identified through restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and analyzed the variables from patient clusters, based on data collected in surveys of the Department of Health and the Laboratory Management Program. Results: According to data from the Department of Public Health, the overall rate of tuberculosis per 100,000 inhabitants in the province of Castellón was 15.7 in 2004, 19.9 in 2005, 18.2 in 2006 and 17.5 in 2007. In our laboratory, strains were identified from 301 patients, representing 77% (301/390) of reported cases and 94% (301/321) of reported cases with a positive culture. The percentage of tuberculosis among foreigners increased with age, exceeding 50% in 2007. Molecular studies were available in 95% of patients (286); 58% were Spanish and 42% were foreigners, of whom 54% were Romanians. The cluster percentage was 40%, with 30% of mixed clusters. According to conventional contact studies, 85% of patients in clusters had been considered isolated cases. Conclusions: The increased rate of tuberculosis in Castellón was mainly due to the increasing number of cases among foreigners, mostly Romanians. The availability of molecular studies in all patients with a positive culture allowed us to analyze how and where tuberculosis is transmitted in our province. Forty percent of the patients were grouped into clusters; of these, mixed clusters accounted for one third, indicating the high integration of immigrants in our area.

Keywords : Tuberculosis; Molecular epidemiology; RFLP; Immigration.

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