Yonsei Med J.  2017 May;58(3):592-597. 10.3349/ymj.2017.58.3.592.

Social and Clinical Characteristics of Immigrants with Tuberculosis in South Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Sleep, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Ansan, Korea. lee-sh@korea.ac.kr
  • 2Division of Pulmonary, Sleep, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

PURPOSE
To determine the social and clinical characteristics of immigrants with tuberculosis (TB) in South Korea.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The registered adult TB patients who were diagnosed and treated in Korea Medical Centers from January 2013 to December 2015 were analyzed retrospectively. A total of 105 immigrants with TB were compared to 932 native Korean TB patients.
RESULTS
Among these 105 immigrants with TB, 86 (82%) were Korean-Chinese. The rate of drug-susceptible TB were lower in the immigrants group than in the native Korean group [odds ratio (OR): 0.46; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.22-0.96, p=0.035]. Cure rate was higher in the immigrant group than in the native Korean group (OR: 2.03; 95% CI: 1.26-3.28, p=0.003). Treatment completion rate was lower in the immigrant group than in the native Korean group (OR: 0.50; 95% CI: 0.33-0.74, p=0.001). However, treatment success rate showed no significant difference between two groups (p=0.141). Lost to follow up (default) rate was higher in the immigrant group than in the native Korean group after adjusting for age and drug resistance (OR: 3.61; 95% CI: 1.36-9.61, p=0.010). There was no difference between defaulter and non-defaulter in clinical characteristics or types of visa among these immigrants (null p value). However, 43 TB patients with recent immigration were diagnosed as TB even though they had been screened as normal at the time of immigration.
CONCLUSION
Endeavor to reduce the default rate of immigrants with TB and reinforce TB screening during the immigration process must be performed for TB infection control in South Korea.

Keyword

Immigrants; tuberculosis; microbial sensitivity tests; medication adherence; mass screening
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