Guidance from ECDC & EMCDDA on active case finding of communicable diseases in prisons

29 May 2018

Article: 52/2103

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) have published guidance on active case finding of communicable diseases among people in prison. This guidance advises offering testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV to all people in prison and to conduct universal testing for tuberculosis on entry to prison.

Compared to the general public, people in prison have a higher rate of communicable diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and tuberculosis. This constitutes a health risk for those living and working in prison settings as well as for the general population, given that the majority of people in prisons return to their communities after a short period of incarceration (median length of detention in Europe is less than nine months).

The ECDC–EMCDDA Guidance is based on consultations with a panel of prison experts, and identifies the most cost-effective approaches with the aim to interrupt transmission in, and between, prison settings as well as the community, by first testing and then offering treatment to those infected.

Source: ECDC, 23 May 2018