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Free Content The impact of immigration on tuberculosis rates in the United Kingdom compared with other European countries

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether trends in tuberculosis (TB) rates across Europe are linked to patterns of migration.

DESIGN: Descriptive analysis of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development population statistics and EuroTB data for 21 European countries for 1996–2005.

RESULTS: TB notification rates increased in only three of the 21 countries: the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden. In all three countries, approximately three quarters of cases were foreign-born. The UK had the third highest number of foreign nationals overall, but the highest number from a country with a TB incidence ≥250 cases/100000 (219000, 13%). European countries with declining TB rates had varying patterns of migration, but did not generally receive migrants from very high-incidence countries and/or had a smaller proportion of their total TB cases in their migrant population.

CONCLUSIONS: The increase in the rate of TB in the UK, which contrasts with most other European countries, may, at least in part, be due to the fact that a high proportion of UK cases occur in the foreign-born, coupled with a comparatively large number of foreign nationals from countries with a very high incidence of TB.

Keywords: Europe; immigration; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, London, UK 2: Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, London, UK; and Infectious Diseases Department, Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice, France

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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