About 13 000 refugees are currently accepted for migration into Australia each year, many of whom have spent protracted periods living in extremely disadvantaged circumstances. As a result, medical practitioners are increasingly managing recently arrived refugees with acute and chronic infectious diseases.
The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases has formulated guidelines for the diagnosis, management and prevention of infection in newly arrived refugees. This article is an abridged version of the guidelines, which are available in full at <http://www.asid.net.au>.
All refugees should be offered a comprehensive health assessment, ideally within 1 month of arrival in Australia, that includes screening for and treatment of tuberculosis, malaria, blood-borne viral infections, schistosomiasis, helminth infection, sexually transmitted infections, and other infections (eg, Helicobacter pylori) as indicated by clinical assessment; and assessment of immunisation status, and catch-up immunisations where appropriate.
The assessment can be undertaken by a general practitioner or within a multidisciplinary refugee health clinic, with use of an appropriate interpreter when required. The initial assessment should take place over at least two visits: the first for initial assessment and investigation and the second for review of results and treatment or referral.
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