Latent Tuberculosis Infection Among New Immigrant in Taiwan: A Cross-Sectional Study of Tuberculosis Contacts, 2016–2020

DOI: 10.6524/EB.202403_40(6).0001

Pei-Ling Chen1*, Hsiu-Yun Lo1, Shiang-Lin Yang1,, Jo-Shan Wang1,, Chi-Fang Feng1,, Pei-Chun Chan1,2, Chi-Tai Fang2,3,4

2024 Vol.40 NO.6

Correspondence Author: Pei-Ling Chen1*

  • 1 Division of Chronic Infection Disease, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan
  • 2 Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
  • 3 Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taiwan
  • 4 Ministry of Health and Welfare and National Taiwan University Infectious Diseases Research and Education Center, Taiwan


        Based on the literature review, the distribution of tuberculosis (TB) cases in high-income countries mostly showed a continuous decline in domestic cases or maintained a low incidence rate. However, the incidence of TB in foreign-born people had increased or remained higher than domestic cases. In some advanced countries with a low incidence of TB, it is even more apparent to recognize that immigrants from TB high burden countries have a relatively higher incidence, mortality, and latent TB infection (LTBI) rate. 
        The 58,047 childbearing females of age between 15–49 years old contacts (38,674 contacts of Taiwanese and 388 contacts of new immigrants) who were in the TB database from 2016 to June 2020 with complete identity and gender information were analyzed for the results of the Interferon-γ-release assay (IGRA) test. In terms of the prevalence of LTBI, the contact of new immigrants as index cases’ cohabitants had a higher risk of having IGRA-positive than Taiwanese counterparts (27.8% vs. 14.5%, aOR: 2.08; 95% CI: 1.55–2.78); the contacts of new-immigrants as index cases’ colleague also had a higher possibility to have IGRA-positive than Taiwanese (29.3% vs. 7.4%, aOR: 4.62; 95% CI: 3.18–6.72).
        According to the result of this study, compared to Taiwanese women of the same age (15–49 years old), the prevalence of LTBI among new-immigrant women was higher. We need to consider whether to refer to the WHO recommendations to provide latent tuberculosis infection screening and preventive treatment services for new immigrants from countries with a high burden of tuberculosis to avoid future diseases.

Keywords:New-immigrant, immigrant, foreign spouse, tuberculosis, latent tuberculosis infection