Migrant populations and infectious diseases (multiple reviews)

Added October 4, 2020

What is this? Migrant populations may be at higher risk of developing COVID-19 and having complications and poor outcomes. Existing research into infectious diseases and migrant populations might provide useful information for policy makers and several relevant systematic reviews are summarized here. More details on these, including citations and links to their full text, are available further down this page.

What was found: Several factors influence the risk of infectious disease among migrant populations, and their acceptance of healthcare interventions.

The Riccardo review found that risks of most infectious diseases among migrant populations can be attributed to migration-specific factors (such as migrant status, migration trajectory, country of origin and access to health care), and behavioural or socio-economic factors (such as overcrowding, high mobility, poverty, education and occupation).

The Driedger review found that individuals’ level of disease knowledge, peer and family support, social determinants (such as years of formal education), cultural/family beliefs and social connections, as well as the cultural sensitivity and communication skills of healthcare practitioners, influence migrants’ acceptance and uptake of interventions for infectious diseases. Both structural and community-level barriers reduced access to public health interventions.

The Giorgo Rossi review reported problems in infectious disease monitoring in migrant populations in Europe, including both over- and under-reporting, other data inaccuracies and inadequate surveillance methods.

The Riccardo review found that frequent transmission pathways for communicable diseases in migrant holding centres include human-to-human transmission, water- and food-borne infections and skin infections. They concluded that critical issues for disease prevention and control were living conditions (notably minimising overcrowding), effective coordination among stakeholders, health information (especially related to early detection and reporting), human resources, physical infrastructure and health financing.

What are the reviews:

Citation: Driedger M, Mayhew A, Welch V, et al. Accessibility and Acceptability of Infectious Disease Interventions Among Migrants in the EU/EEA: A CERQual Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2018 Nov;15(11):2329.

In this overview, the authors searched for qualitative reviews on public health interventions relevant to migrant populations in Europe. They searched for reviews published in English between January 2010 and July 2016 that dealt with specific infectious diseases (HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, vaccine-preventable diseases and parasitic diseases). They included 3 qualitative systematic reviews which focused on migrant populations and 8 that examined migrants as a subgroup within the general population. The populations in these reviews were all migrants from low- or middle-income countries to high-income countries.

Citation: Giorgi Rossi P, Riccardo F, Pezzarossi A, et al. Factors influencing the accuracy of infectious disease reporting in migrants: a scoping review. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2017 Jul;14(7):720.

In this scoping review, the authors searched for studies of factors influencing the accuracy of infectious disease monitoring in migrants in Europe. They restricted their searches to articles published in English, French, Spanish, German or Italian after 1994, and did their search in March 2014. They included 27 articles covering a range of infectious diseases.

Citation: Riccardo F, Dente MG, Kärki T, et al. Towards a European framework to monitor infectious diseases among migrant populations: design and applicability. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2015 Sep;12(9):11640-61.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for observational or qualitative studies of infectious disease monitoring in migrant populations. They restricted their searches to articles published in English or French between 2010 and 2013. They included 10 case series, 8 cross-sectional studies, 4 cohort studies, 2 social-anthropologic qualitative studies and 1 literature review.

Citation: Riccardo F, Suk JE, Espinosa L, et al. Key dimensions for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in institutional settings: a scoping review to guide the development of a tool to strengthen preparedness at migrant holding centres in the EU/EEA. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2018 Jun;15(6):1120.

In this scoping review, the authors searched for studies of prevention and control of communicable diseases in migrant centres and similar institutional settings, and strengths and weaknesses in addressing communicable diseases in such settings. They restricted their searches to articles published in English, French and Italian since 2000 and did their most recent search in December 2015. They included 43 journal articles and 54 reports from the grey literature.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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