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      Screening for leprosy in immigrants--a decision analysis model.

      Leprosy review
      Australia, epidemiology, Decision Support Techniques, Developing Countries, Emigration and Immigration, Humans, Leprosy, etiology, prevention & control, Mass Screening, methods, Prevalence

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          Almost all leprosy cases reported in industrialized countries occur amongst immigrants or refugees from developing countries where leprosy continues to be an important health issue. Screening for leprosy is an important question for governments in countries with immigration and refugee programmes. A decision analysis framework is used to evaluate leprosy screening. The analysis uses a set of criteria and parameters regarding leprosy screening, and available data to estimate the number of cases which would be detected by a leprosy screening programme of immigrants from countries with different leprosy prevalences, compared with a policy of waiting for immigrants who develop symptomatic clinical diseases to present for health care. In a cohort of 100,000 immigrants from high leprosy prevalence regions (3.6/10,000), screening would detect 32 of the 42 cases which would arise in the destination country over the 14 years after migration; from medium prevalence areas (0.7/10,000) 6.3 of the total 8.1 cases would be detected, and from low prevalence regions (0.2/10,000) 1.8 of 2.3 cases. Using Australian data, the migrant mix would produce 74 leprosy cases from 10 years intake; screening would detect 54, and 19 would be diagnosed subsequently after migration. Screening would only produce significant case-yield amongst immigrants from regions or social groups with high leprosy prevalence. Since the number of immigrants to Australia from countries of higher endemnicity is not large routine leprosy screening would have a small impact on case incidence.

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