Breaking the barriers: Migrants and tuberculosis.

Authors: Sotgiu G, Dara M, Centis R, Matteelli A, Solovic I, Gratziou C, Rendon A, Battista Migliori G


Presse Med. 2017 Mar;46(2 Pt 2):e5-e11

Tuberculosis (TB) can represent an important clinical and public health in developing and developed countries. Low- and middle-income countries are facing an epidemic which is difficult to address because of the drug-resistance spread and the association of TB with HIV/AIDS. High-income countries, whose TB incidence has decreased in the last decades, can be involved in new TB epidemic waves owing to social, healthcare, and economic hurdles and challenges. In particular, migrants coming from high TB incidence countries can represent a new epidemiological issue in the TB care and control in geographical areas where primary care and specialized centres are not equipped to face the clinical and public health issues associated with the TB disease. The healthcare management of individuals with a latent TB infection or the TB disease is heterogeneous and different policies are in place in Europe, and, specifically, in EU countries. Scientific evidence on how to early and efficiently detect TB cases is missing, as well as diagnostic tools to diagnose those who have latent TB infection do not show adequate accuracy. Countries like Greece and Italy have political difficulties in the management of migrants and the poor living conditions in the migration centres can increase the probability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission. A clear advocacy and political commitment are urgently required. The current migration trends represent a threat from a human and a healthcare perspective. New homogeneous and target-oriented policies and strategies are needed to improve the health of the migrant and of the autochthonous populations.



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