Can immigrants transmit infectious diseases to general population? A survey of high school students in western Sicily.

Alberto Firenze, Vincenzo Restivo, Sandro Provenzano, Valentina Bonanno

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

Abstract

Background. The migration of people has always accompanied the history of man and produced a gradual but constant reorganization of the coordinates of the ethnic and cultural world. Today, all of this continues to undergo a profound acceleration, taking aback often unprepared governments and the same population and generating fears, mostly unfounded concerns and prejudices that make complex a peaceful and necessary integration. The purpose of this study is understand the actual perception of immigrants from a sample of students who live in Western Sicily.Methods. A cross-sectional survey was carried out, throughout an anonymous questionnaire, to all students attending a high school in Castellammare del Golfo, in Sicily close to an Acceptance Centers for Asylum Seekers (CARA). This questionnaire contains a series of questions that take into account different aspects of Immigration (socio-demographic and health aspects).Results. The sample consists of 253 students attending a high school in Sicily, of which 176 (69.6%) are females. 187 of these (73.9%) think that there are too much immigrants in Italy. The reasons that push migrants to come to Italy, for their opinion, are considered the economic ones (204, 80.6%) and logistic ones (ease of entry) (71, 28.1%). Half of this sample (136, 53.8%) knows the CARA in their town. 106 (41.9%) of respondents tend to be agree on the possibility that immigration promotes the spread of terrorism and crime. Considering health aspects, 61 (24.1%) of the students believe that the most frequent pathology into a CARA is tuberculosis (tb), instead 66 (26.1%) think about respiratory illness. 106 (41.9%) of respondents believe that immigrants can transmit specific diseases, such as tb (36, 33.9%) and all the pathologies examined (gastroenteritis, tuberculosis, respiratory illness with fever, meningitis) (34, 32.1%).Furthermore it was performed a multivariate logistic analysis between the variable of who think that immigrants can transmit infectious diseases and the other ones. The results show that this variable is directly associated with the idea that the main cause of hospitalization among male immigrants is the same infectious diseases (OR= 3.15 p=0.007). On the other side this variable is inversely associated with being little (OR=0.04 p=0.009) and not at all (OR=0.27 p=0.02) agree with the idea that immigrants can promote the spread of terrorism.Conclusion. These data suggest that the knowledge about migrants is not still sufficient, and that the perception of the foreign is still marked by prejudices. The research aimed to investigate the perception of these adolescents compared to immigrants, an indispensable prerequisite to give tools able to inform people properly on immigration with particular reference to health topics and to fight prejudices and stereotypes in healthcare.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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