Health status of Afro-Asian refugees in an Italian urban area: a cross-sectional monocentric study


Health status of Afro-Asian refugees in an Italian urban area: a cross-sectional monocentric study


Del Pinto, R.,Pietropaoli, D.,Russomando, U.,Evangelista, P.,Ferri, C.

Public Health


Virus targets
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Other targets
Target populations
Country of development
Target location
Testing strategy
Laboratory-based antibody test
Countries of included studies

Health outcomes

Receipt of antibody results,Number new diagnoses

Testing strategy 

Laboratory-based antibody test


Objectives: The recent sociopolitical events in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern areas have significantly impacted international migration flows. As disease prevalence and type are different among western and Afro-Asian countries, physicians dealing with refugees should be aware of their specific health needs. We aimed at evaluating the health status and disease history of refugees at their arrival in the urban area of L'Aquila (Italy). Study design: This is a monocentric cross-sectional study. Method(s): Refugees hosted at the local reception center in L'Aquila (Italy) between July 2014 and December 2014 were cross-sectionally evaluated for anamnestic, clinical, and laboratory features. A subset of randomly selected participants underwent further assessments (screening for tuberculosis, hepatitis B/C, human immunodeficiency virus, syphilis; ambulatory blood pressure measurement [ABPM]) to better define their health status. Result(s): Ninety-three adult male refugees (27.34 +/- 7.41 years) from Africa (76%) and Asia (24%) were enrolled. Overall, the most prevalent diseases according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th revision affected the digestive tract (15.6%) and musculoskeletal apparatus (14.4%). The analysis by continent of origin did not show significant differences in the distribution of diseases, although a trend toward some differences was observed. African refugees had a significantly greater prevalence of viral hepatitis (hepatitis B virus, P = 0.004; hepatitis C virus, P = 0.007) compared with Asians. Hypertension, as detected by ABPM, was uncommon. No written vaccination history was available. Conclusion(s): Health issues of our sample of Afro-Asian refugees span both non-communicable and communicable diseases, requiring attention for the safety of the individual and the community. National health systems should provide adequate information and shared guidelines for health professionals regarding identification and management of refugees' health needs. Copyright © 2018 The Royal Society for Public Health

Page updated

22 Jan 2021