Migrants ‘most at risk of TB and HIV’

Almost three-quarters of reported cases of tuberculosis (TB) in 2010 occurred in non-UK born residents, a new report shows.

The Health Protection Agency’s (HPA) second report on migrant health also reveals that almost 60 per cent of newly diagnosed cases of HIV involved people who were born abroad.

And 61 per cent of cases of malaria in the UK involved non-UK born residents who had travelled abroad to visit friends or relatives.

Overall, the report indicates that the greatest burden of reported infectious diseases affect a small proportion of non-UK born residents, who accounted for about 12 per cent of people living in the UK in 2010.

Dr Jane Jones, consultant epidemiologist and head of the HPA’s travel and migrant health section, said: ‘The majority of non-UK born residents do not have infectious diseases but some are at higher risk than UK born residents because of their exposures and their life experiences prior to, during and after migration.’

The expert pointed out that timely identification of people who are at risk and early diagnosis of infection can help to improve outcomes.

She also emphasised: ‘It is important to remember that risk to non-UK born residents does not end on arrival in the UK.’

The HPA recently advised holidaymakers – including those visiting family overseas – to remember to take anti-malaria tablets when going to countries where the disease is prevalent.

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