Attempts to control the importation of infectious diseases through the medical screening and evaluation of immigrants and refugees represent the modern application of some of the earliest recorded public health interventions.
States with long-standing immigration programmes continue to require the medical examination and screening of migrants for certain diseases. In some instances, the public health effectiveness of these immigration medical assessments is of questionable value when considered from a population health basis.
This article reviews current practices and describes recent studies where more modern and epidemiologically based immigration medical interventions have been undertaken. A more effective immigration medical assessment process is proposed through the use of results of this more empirical approach to immigration medical screening.