Background: During the period May 2004 – December 2005 a serum epidemiological survey for
preventable diseases through compulsory vaccination in Italy (diphtheria, tetanus, poliovirus, and
hepatitis B) and rubella in women was performed in a group of adult and illegal immigrants living in
Rome, to evaluate the relationship between vaccination coverage and socio-demographic characteristics.
Methods: Serological exams were carried out by Elisa test (for rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and
hepatitis B) and by neutralizing antibody titration (Poliovirus).
Both descriptive analyses and inferential statistics (hypothesis tests) were used.
Results: Out of 667 immigrants who were invited, 318 of them participated in the study (participation
rate = 47.6 %).
The percentages of immunized individuals were: 39.1% for diphtheria (basic immunization 59.3%),
74.8% for tetanus, 74.1% for poliomyelitis, and 94.7% for rubella. Among Eastern European subjects,
Poliovirus vaccination coverage was lower than 70%. With regard to rubella, African women had the
lowest coverage (87.5%). Only 2.8% was vaccinated against hepatitis B. Over half of immigrants were
healthy carriers for HBV.
Conclusions: Our results underline the unexpressed health needs of the migrant population.
European countries should pay more attention to promote immigrants’ health since their entrance in
the new communities.
- Serum–epidemiological survey
- Vaccination coverage