Expatriates relocating to Ireland should be encouraged to visit health clinics where they can be screened for tuberculosis (TB), medical professionals have suggested.
Following an outbreak of the disease in Cork, the country's Health Service Executive (HSE) has launched plans to roll out a screening programme among children at one school with cases of TB.
Individuals relocating to Ireland to seek asylum are currently offered screening for the illness but the HSE has confirmed that it will expand the initiative to other at-risk groups.
Speaking to the Irish Times, the executive said the increase in the number of TB cases could be associated with a significant rise in population, "particularly people coming from countries inside and outside the EU which have higher incidence of TB".
The Irish Thoracic Society has called for a "vigorous national programme" to offer screening to high-risk groups and treat prospective expats for latent TB before active infection develops.
Society president Dr Terry O'Connor commented: "Establishing a vigorous programme to screen for and treat latent TB will be the most effective way of reducing the incidence of TB in Ireland, will reap long-term public health and cost gains and should be introduced without delay."
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