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Free Content Adult tuberculosis in Israel and migration: trends and challenges between 1999 and 2010

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BACKGROUND: Israel absorbs many migrants from countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB).

OBJECTIVES: To describe the epidemiology of TB among adults in Israel between 1999 and 2010 and identify populations with a high TB burden.

DESIGN: Data were retrieved from the National Tuberculosis Registry and the Israeli Bureau of Statistics.

RESULTS: A total of 4652 adult TB patients were notified during the study period, with rates decreasing annually from 7.5 per 100 000 population in 1999 to 4.3 in 2010. Most (n = 3745, 80.5%) had pulmonary TB, the average female:male ratio was 1:1.4, and 227 (5.1%) were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. Of all TB patients, 4079 (87.6%) were born outside Israel; of these, 3338 were citizens and 741 non-citizen migrant workers (MWs). The average annual rates of TB among Israeli-born citizens, foreign-born citizens and MWs were respectively 0.86, 11.9 and 27/100 000. The ratio of MWs to foreign-born citizens fell from 1:11.7 in 1999 to 1:1.5 in 2010. TB was diagnosed 13.9 ± 7.5 years following entry to Israel, mostly during the first year. Of 3551 isolates, 222 (4.5%) were multidrug-resistant; most (95.6%) were from foreign-born patients. The average treatment success rate for smear-positive pulmonary TB was 84.3%.

CONCLUSION: TB rates have decreased, while the proportion of foreign-born subjects, particularly MWs, has increased. Adherence to preventive treatment can prevent TB in these cases.
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Keywords: HIV; citizenship; epidemiology; migrant workers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel; Ramla Department of Public Health, Ramla, Israel 2: Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel 3: Tel-Aviv Tuberculosis Clinic, League Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Tel Aviv, Israel 4: Public Health Services, Jerusalem, Israel; Faculty of Medicine, Ben Gurion University in the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel

Publication date: 01 December 2012

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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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