Guidance

Argentina: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Argentina for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Ascertain any risk factors for hepatitis B infection that may indicate the need for screening, because Argentina has a low prevalence.

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Argentina.

Be alert for possible cases of Chagas disease, and refer as appropriate, because there is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Argentina.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See Immunisation collection with complete schedules.

Tuberculosis (TB)

There is a low incidence of TB in Argentina (<40 cases/100,000), so:

  • routine screening for TB is not required
  • consider testing in patients (including children) who show signs and symptoms
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV

Take a sexual history, and:

  • screen for STIs and HIV according to risk as specified in the UK national standards and guidelines
  • test all sexually active patients under the age of 25 for chlamydia

Argentina has a low rate of HIV (≤1%), so:

  • offer and recommend a HIV test if the patient:
    • falls into a high risk group
    • is newly registering in a high prevalence area
  • be advised that national guidelines do not recommend routine consideration of HIV testing of infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK

Hepatitis B

Argentina has a low prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Argentina has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C if other risk factors apply.

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Malaria

There is a very low risk of malaria in some areas of this Argentina, so test any unwell patient who has travelled to-and-from affected areas of Argentina in the last year and remember that malaria can be rapidly fatal.

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Argentina, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Argentina are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Argentina

Chagas

There is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Argentina, so:

  • be alert for possible cases
  • refer as appropriate

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Argentina
Number of children per woman¹ 2 2
Use of contraception² 82% 65.3%

¹lifetime average; ²by woman of reproductive age or partner

No data is available on:

  • mammography screening rates
  • cervical cancer screening rates

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a low risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence is 5 to 20%) and a moderate risk in pre-school children (estimated prevalence is 20 to 40%), so:

  • be alert to this possibility in recently arrived migrants, particularly for women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Vitamin A

There is a risk of vitamin A deficiency in Argentina.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

See WHO Global Health Observatory for a summary of health indicators and health care in Argentina.

Culture, politics and history

See BBC News and The World Factbook for background information on the culture, politics and history of Argentina.

Languages

The main languages used in Argentina are:

  • Spanish (official)
  • Italian
  • English
  • German
  • French
  • indigenous (Mapudungun, Quechua)

Source: The World Factbook


Find out about language interpretation.

Religions

Religion Population (%)
Roman Catholic¹ 92%
Other 4%
Protestant 2%
Jewish 2%

¹nominal

Source: The World Factbook

Migration to the UK

There were over 7,000 people from Argentina living in the UK at the time of the 2001 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Published 31 July 2014